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The burdened life of adults with ADHD: Impairment beyond comorbidity

C.R. Garcia, C.H.D. Baua, K.L. Silva, S.M. Callegari-Jacques, C.A.I. Salgado, A.G. Fischer, M.M. Victor, N.O. Sousa, R.G. Karam, L.A. Rohde, P. Belmonte-de-Abreua & E.H. Grevet.

European Psychiatry

Volume 27, Issue 5, July 2012, Pages 309–313

 

Abstract

Since approximately 70% of adult patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have at least one comorbid disorder, rating of impairment specifically attributable to ADHD is a hard task. Despite the evidence linking environmental adversities with negative outcomes in ADHD, life events measures have not been used to rate the disorder impairment. The present study tested for the first time the hypothesis that increased ADHD severity is associated with an increase in negative recent life events, independently of comorbidity status. The psychiatric diagnoses of 211 adult ADHD outpatients were based on DSM-IV criteria assessed through structured interviews (K-SADS-E for ADHD and ODD, MINI for ASPD and SCID-IV-R for other comorbidities). ADHD severity was evaluated with the Swanson, Nolan and Pelham rating scale (SNAP-IV) and recent life events with the Life Experience Survey. Higher SNAP-IV inattention and hyperactivity scores, female gender, lower socioeconomic status and the presence of comorbid mood disorders were associated with negative life events. Poisson regression models with adjustment for possible confounders confirmed the effect of inattention and hyperactivity severity on negative life events. Our results suggest that the negative life events experienced by these patients are associated to the severity of ADHD independently from comorbid psychiatric disorders.

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