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Informativeness of child and parent reports on substance use disorders in a sample of ADHD probands, control probands, and their siblings.

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Pediatric Psychopharmacology Unit (ACC 725), Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114, USA.



To evaluate parent-child agreement on psychoactive substance use disorder (PSUD) reporting among children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and to test whether agreement level could be predicted from measures of parent and child psychopathology and substance use severity.


The authors examined 348 pairs of child and parent assessments in a sample of 108 ADHD and 68 normal control probands and their 172 siblings aged 12 and older.


PSUD rates were higher when the child was the reporter than when the parent was. Agreement between parent and child reports was strongest for cigarette smoking, alcohol dependence, and any PSUD. Although parental reports were frequently endorsed by the child's report, the reverse was rarely true. Predictors of parental awareness of the child's PSUD included impaired social functioning, younger age of the child, presence of multiple substance use disorders in the child, and comorbid bipolar disorder.


PSUD rates vary by informant and are higher when the child is the reporter. Because severity of PSUD and multiple substance use were the strongest predictors of parental awareness, more efforts are needed to identify the more covert and milder cases of PSUD that may not reach clinical attention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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