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Psychosocial and clinical correlates of ADHD in a community sample of school-age children.

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Yale Child Study Center, New Haven, CT 06520-7900, USA.



To identify the psychosocial and clinical correlates of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in a community sample of children and to examine the validity of a subclinical form of ADHD.


The sample of 449 children (mean age 9.2 years, SD 1.78; 53.6% boys) participated in the second stage of a community survey. Of these, 359 (80%) screened positive at stage 1. On the basis of a structured diagnostic interview with a parent, children were classified into 1 of 3 mutually exclusive groups: ADHD (n = 89), subthreshold ADHD (n = 100), and non-ADHD (n = 260).


As measured by the Children's Global Assessment Scale, the ADHD group was more impaired than the subthreshold group, which was more impaired than the non-ADHD group (p < .05 for each test). Children in the ADHD group were more likely to be male, to have mothers with a history of psychiatric treatment, to have fathers with a history of excessive alcohol use, and to live in low-income families with higher levels of family dysfunction (p < .05 for all variables). A model containing male gender, family dysfunction, and low income was most predictive of ADHD status (p < .01). ADHD was also associated with psychiatric comorbidity, especially disruptive behavior disorders.


These results support a dimensional approach to ADHD. More severe forms of ADHD are associated with psychosocial adversity and psychiatric comorbidity.

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