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Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2009 Jul;18(7):447-57. doi: 10.1007/s00787-009-0755-7. Epub 2009 Feb 5.

Full syndrome and subthreshold attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in a Korean community sample: comorbidity and temperament findings.

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Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.



The main objective of this study was to investigate the comorbid disorders and temperamental profiles of full syndrome and subthreshold attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


A sample of 2,493 students was randomly selected from six representative elementary schools in Seoul, Korea. Among 245 children with full syndrome and subthreshold ADHD diagnosed by the diagnostic interview schedule for children-4th version, parents of 185 subjects (mean age 9.0 +/- 1.7 years) and of a random sample of 185 age- and gender-matched non-ADHD children have completed the parent's version of the children behavior checklist (CBCL) and the juvenile temperament and character inventory (JTCI).


The prevalence rates of full syndrome and subthreshold ADHD were, respectively, 5.90% (95% confidence interval = 4.74-7.06) and 9.00% (95% confidence interval = 7.58-10.41). Subthreshold ADHD cases did not differ from full syndrome ADHD in any JTCI profile, showing high novelty seeking/low persistence/low self-directedness than controls. Subthreshold ADHD also showed increased risk for externalizing disorders and higher scores in eight CBCL scales (somatic complaints, anxious/depressed, social problems, attention problems, delinquent behaviors, aggressive behaviors, externalizing problems and total behavioral problems) compared to the controls.


These results support the clinical relevance of subthreshold ADHD in Asian culture. Increased clinical awareness for children with subthreshold ADHD is needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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