Comorbid problems in ADHD: Degree of association, shared endophenotypes, and formation of distinct subtypes. Implications for a future DSM

  • Rommelse N
  • Altink M
  • Fliers E
 et al. 
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We aimed to assess which comorbid problems (oppositional defiant behaviors, anxiety, autistic traits, motor coordination problems, and reading problems) were most associated with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); to determine whether these comorbid problems shared executive and motor problems on an endophenotype level with ADHD; and to determine whether executive functioning (EF)-and motor-endophenotypes supported the hypothesis that ADHD with comorbid problems is a qualitatively different phenotype than ADHD without comorbid problems. An EF-and a motor-endophenotype were formed based on nine neuropsychological tasks administered to 816 children from ADHD-and control-families. Additional data on comorbid problems were gathered using questionnaires. Results indicated that oppositional defiant behaviors appeared the most important comorbid problems of ADHD, followed by autistic traits, and than followed by motor coordination problems, anxiety, and reading problems. Both the EF-and motor-endophenotype were correlated and cross-correlated in siblings to autistic traits, motor coordination problems and reading problems, suggesting ADHD and these comorbid problems may possibly share familial/genetic EF and motor deficits. No such results were found for oppositional defiant behaviors and anxiety. ADHD in co-occurrence with comorbid problems may not be best seen as a distinct subtype of ADHD, but further research is warranted.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity disorder
  • Comorbidity
  • DSM-V
  • Endophenotype
  • Phenotype

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  • Nanda N J Rommelse

  • Marieke E. Altink

  • Ellen A. Fliers

  • Neilson C. Martin

  • Cathelijne J M Buschgens

  • Catharina A. Hartman

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