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Res Dev Disabil. 2017 Jan;60:52-64. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2016.11.009. Epub 2016 Nov 24.

ADHD severity as it relates to comorbid psychiatric symptomatology in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, McGovern Medical School, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, United States. Electronic address: Rosleen.Mansour@uth.tmc.edu.
2
Department of Educational Psychology, University of Houston, United States.
3
Departments of Psychology and Statistics, Rice University, United States.
4
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, McGovern Medical School, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, United States.

Abstract

Comorbid diagnoses identified in pediatric samples have been correlated with a range of outcomes, including greater levels of emotional, behavioral, and educational impairment and the need for more intensive treatment. Given that previous research has documented high levels of comorbid Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), this study closely examines the relationship between parent-reported ADHD symptoms (i.e., Conners' Parent Rating Scale, Revised [CPRS-R]) and the prevalence of additional comorbid psychiatric diagnoses in a pediatric ASD sample (n=99). Regression analyses revealed that greater severity of ADHD symptomatology was significantly related to a greater number of comorbid psychiatric diagnoses, as identified using the Diagnostic Interview for Children and adolescents, 4th Edition (DICA-IV). Additionally, more severe ADHD symptoms were also associated with higher levels of symptom severity on Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) syndrome subscales. Interestingly, increasing severity of ASD symptomatology, as measured by the Autism Diagnostic Interview, Revised (ADI-R), was not associated with a higher prevalence of comorbid psychiatric diagnoses or CBCL syndrome severity. Our study concluded that higher levels of ADHD severity-not ASD severity-were associated with a higher prevalence of comorbid psychiatric symptomatology in school-age children with ASD. These findings may encourage clinicians to thoroughly assess ADHD symptomatology in ASD children to better inform treatment planning.

KEYWORDS:

ASD-ADHD; Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity disorder; Autism spectrum disorder; Comorbidity; DSM-5 diagnostic criteria; Psychiatric symptom severity

PMID:
27889487
PMCID:
PMC5441885
[Available on 2018-01-01]
DOI:
10.1016/j.ridd.2016.11.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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