Household Food Insecurity Is Associated with Symptoms of Emotional Dysregulation in Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: The MADDY Study

Irene E. Hatsu, Leanna Eiterman, Madeline Stern, Stacy Lu, Jeanette M. Johnstone, Brenda M.Y. Leung, Priya Srikanth, Lisa Robinette, Gabriella Tost, James B. Odei, Barbara L. Gracious, L. Eugene Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The association of household food insecurity with symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and emotional dysregulation in children was examined in this study. We utilized baseline data from 134 children aged 6–12 years who were enrolled in a clinical trial investigating multinutrient supplementation as a treatment for ADHD and emotional dysregulation. Household food security status was assessed using the 18-item US Household Food Security Survey Module. The symptoms of ADHD and emotional dysregulation disorders (oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD)) were assessed using the Child and Adolescent Symptom Inventory-5 and other comorbid emotional dysregulation symptoms were assessed using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Multiple linear regression determined associations between household food security status and symptoms of ADHD, ODD and DMDD, emotional symptoms and conduct problems. Household food insecurity was associated with more severe emotional symptoms (β = 2.30; 95% CI = 0.87–3.73; p = 0.002), conduct problems (β = 1.15; 95% CI = 0.01–2.30; p = 0.049) and total difficulties scores (β = 4.59; 95% CI = 1.82–7.37; p = 0.001) after adjusting for covariates (child’s sex, parent marital status, household income, parental anxiety and other parental psychopathology). In unadjusted analyses, household food insecurity was also associated with increased ODD (β = 0.58; 95% CI = 0.21–0.95; p = 0.003) and DMDD symptoms (β = 0.69; 95% CI = 0.20–1.19; p = 0.006), but these associations attenuated to non-significance after adjusting for all covariates. Household food insecurity was associated with more severe emotional dysregulation symptoms. Discussing and addressing food insecurity may be appropriate initial steps for youths with ADHD and emotional dysregulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1306
JournalNutrients
Volume14
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Children
  • Emotional dysregulation
  • Food security status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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