Article

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 571-595

Prevalence of ADHD and comorbid disorders among elementary school children screened for disruptive behavior

  • Gerald J. AugustAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of MinnesotaDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota
  • , George M. RealmutoAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Minnesota
  • , Angus W. MacDonaldIIIAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Minnesota
  • , Sean M. NugentAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Veterans Hospital
  • , Ross CrosbyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Minnesota

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Abstract

In the context of a school-based prevention of conduct disorder program, 7,231 first- through fourth-grade children were screened for cross-setting disruptive behavior. Frequencies of DSM-III-R psychiatric disorders and patterns of comorbidity were assessed. We also examined the association of psychiatric diagnosis with child and parent characteristics to determine differential risk based on diagnostic subgroups. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and oppositional-defiant disorder (ODD) were the most frequent diagnoses. Mood and anxiety disorders were infrequent as single diagnoses. Patterns of comorbidity demonstrated that both externalizing and internalizing disorders commonly cooccurred with ADHD. More severe degrees of psychopathology and psychosocial risk accrued to the subgroup of youths with ADHD plus a comorbid externalizing disorder.