Longitudinal attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptom networks in childhood and adolescence: Key symptoms, stability, and predictive validity.

Michelle M. Martel, Patrick K. Goh, Christine A. Lee, Sarah L. Karalunas, Joel T. Nigg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The current study visualized attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptom networks in a longitudinal sample of participants across childhood and adolescence with exploratory examination of age and gender effects. Eight hundred thirty-six children ages 7–13 years were followed annually for 8 years in total. Across parent and teacher report, results suggested “is easily distracted” and “difficulties sustaining attention” as central symptoms across three testing points (i.e., Year 1, Year 3, and Years 5–8 collapsed). “Difficulties following instructions” and “intrudes/interrupts” also emerged as parent-reported central symptoms. Assessment of network structure across the three testing points suggested global robustness of relations among ADHD symptoms from midchildhood into early adolescence. However, relations among symptoms that cause problems in school settings (i.e., being easily distracted) were stronger in teacher-reported than parent-reported networks. When aggregated into a sum score, central symptoms during Year 1 predicted total difficulties related to mental health problems 5 years later just as well as all 18 symptoms. Central symptoms of ADHD may be useful as screeners of future emotional and behavioral difficulties. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved) General Scientific Summary—This study suggested that a subset of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms (i.e., is easily distracted, difficulties sustaining attention, difficulties following instructions, and intrudes/interrupts) may be particularly informative when screening for ADHD and assessing risk for future total difficulties throughout childhood and adolescence. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)562-574
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Volume130
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • childhood and adolescent ADHD
  • longitudinal
  • network analysis
  • predictive validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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