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Patterns of Homotypic and Heterotypic Continuity Between ADHD Symptoms, Externalising and Internalising Problems from Age 7 to 15

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Murray, Aja Louise 
Di Folco, Simona 
Ribeaud, Denis 
Eisner, Manuel 


Abstract: ADHD presents a serious community-health problem through its links to a wide range of negative outcomes. These outcomes are exacerbated when ADHD symptoms co-occur with other mental health problems. Research evidence suggests high rates of co-comorbidity with a range of problems. However, there is a paucity of longitudinal research that examines the predictive links between ADHD symptoms and symptoms of other mental health problems. We examined a cross-lagged autoregressive model in order to assess homotypic and heterotypic continuity between ADHD symptoms, aggressive behavior, non-aggressive behavior problems and anxiety/depression in a community-based sample of 1571 youth (761 female, 810 male) assessed annually from age 7 to 13 and again at age 15. Consistently significant correlations between each pair of problem behaviors provided support for concurrent comorbidity. Furthermore, significant autoregressive pathways provided support for homotypic continuity. Support for heterotypic continuity was limited to ADHD symptoms predicting both aggressive behavior and non-aggressive behavior problems, but not vice versa. Our study highlights the importance of focusing on ADHD symptoms to identify children at risk not only for continued ADHD symptomatology but also a range of externalizing behavior problems including different types of aggression and non-aggressive behavior problems, such as rule-breaking. Identifying these patterns in a community-based sample provides support for the possibility of early identification of risk for a range of problem behaviors.



Article, Homotypic continuity, Heterotypic continuity, ADHD, Internalising, Externalising, Longitudinal

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Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

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Springer US
Jacobs Foundation (Grant 2010-888)
Swiss National Science Foundation (Grant 100014_132124)