, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 571-595

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

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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.

This study was supported by grant MN-46584 from the National Institute of Mental Health.