Homogeneous Combinations of ASD–ADHD Traits and Their Cognitive and Behavioral Correlates in a Population-Based Sample

  • van der Meer J
  • Lappenschaar M
  • Hartman C
 et al. 
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Abstract

Objective: Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and ADHD are assumed to be the extreme manifestations of continuous heterogeneous traits that frequently co-occur. This study aims to identify subgroups of children with distinct ASD-ADHD trait profiles in the general population, using measures sensitive across both trait continua, and show how these subgroups differ in cognitive functioning. Method: We examined 378 children (6-13 years) from a population-based sample. Results: Latent class analyses (LCA) detected three concordant classes with low (10.1%), medium (54.2%), or high (13.2%) scores on both traits, and two discordant classes with more ADHD than ASD characteristics (ADHD > ASD, 18.3%) and vice versa (ASD > ADHD, 4.2%). Findings suggest that ASD and ADHD traits usually are strongly related in the unaffected population, and that a minority of children displays atypical discordant trait profiles characterized by differential visual-spatial functioning. Conclusion: This dissociation suggests that heterogeneity in ASD and ADHD is rooted in heterogeneity in the lower unaffected end of the distribution.

Author-supplied keywords

  • ADHD
  • autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
  • children

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Authors

  • Jolanda M.J. van der Meer

  • Martijn G.A. Lappenschaar

  • Catharina A. Hartman

  • Corina U. Greven

  • Jan K. Buitelaar

  • Nanda N.J. Rommelse

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