ADHD and depressive symptoms in adolescents: the role of community violence exposure

  • Andrew StickleyEmail author
  • Roman Koposov
  • Ai Koyanagi
  • Yosuke Inoue
  • Vladislav Ruchkin
Original Paper



Comorbid depression is common in adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As yet, however, little is known about the factors associated with co-occurring depression in this population. To address this research gap, the current study examined the role of community violence exposure in the association between ADHD symptoms and depression.


Data came from 505 Russian adolescents [mean age 14.37 (SD = 0.96)] who had teacher-reported information on ADHD symptoms that was collected in conjunction with the Social and Health Assessment (SAHA). Adolescent self-reports of witnessing and being a victim of community violence were also obtained while depressive symptoms were self-assessed with an adapted version of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D). Logistic regression analyses were performed to examine associations.


In univariable analyses, both witnessing and being a victim of violence were associated with significantly increased odds for depressive symptoms in adolescents with ADHD symptoms compared to non-ADHD adolescents who had not experienced community violence. However, in the multivariable analysis only being a victim of violence continued to be associated with significantly increased odds for depression [odds ratio (OR) 4.67, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.33–16.35].


Exposure to community violence may be associated with depression in adolescents with ADHD symptoms. Clinicians should enquire about exposure to community violence in adolescents with ADHD/ADHD symptoms. Early therapeutic interventions to address the effects of violence exposure in adolescents with ADHD may be beneficial for preventing depression in this group.


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder Depressive symptoms Witness violence Violent victimization Adolescent 



AK’s work was supported by the Miguel Servet contract financed by the CP13/00150 and PI15/00862 projects, integrated into the National R + D + I and funded by the ISCIII—General Branch Evaluation and Promotion of Health Research—and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF-FEDER).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

Prior to being included in the study informed consent was obtained from all participants. The study was approved by the institutional review committee at the Northern State Medical University, Arkhangelsk, Russia. The study was performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Preventive Intervention for Psychiatric DisordersNational Institute of Mental Health, National Center of Neurology and PsychiatryKodairaJapan
  2. 2.Stockholm Center for Health and Social Change (SCOHOST)Södertörn UniversityHuddingeSweden
  3. 3.Regional Center for Child and Youth Mental Health and Child WelfareUiT The Arctic University of NorwayTromsöNorway
  4. 4.Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Déu, Universitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.Instituto de Salud Carlos IIICentro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental, CIBERSAMMadridSpain
  6. 6.Carolina Population CenterThe University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  7. 7.Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit, Department of NeuroscienceUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  8. 8.Child Study CentreYale University Medical SchoolNew HavenUSA

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