Sensory overresponsivity and anxiety in children with ADHD

  • Reynolds S
  • Lane S
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OBJECTIVE. Approximately 25% of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have a comorbid anxiety disorder. The purpose of this study was to determine whether sensory overresponsivity (SOR) is related to elevated levels of anxiety in children with ADHD.
METHOD. Twenty-four children ages 6 to 10 with ADHD and 24 children without ADHD participated in this study. All parents completed a Revised Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale (RCMAS) with their child. Children in the ADHD group were subdivided into ADHD + SOR and ADHD-only groups using the Sensory Over-Responsivity Inventory.
RESULTS. Children in the ADHD + SOR group were significantly more anxious than both the ADHD-only and non-ADHD (control) groups. Children with ADHD + SOR were also more likely to have clinically significant anxiety (determined by total scores on the RCMAS).
CONCLUSIONS. Occupational therapists treating children with ADHD and SOR should be aware that these children may also have anxiety and discuss options with families for prevention or treatment.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Arousal
  • Attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity
  • Mental processes
  • Sensation disorders

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