Longitudinal Temperament Pathways to ADHD Between Childhood and Adolescence

Michelle M. Martel, Anjeli R. Elkins, Ashley G. Eng, Patrick K. Goh, Pevitr S. Bansal, Tess E. Smith-Thomas, Melina H. Thaxton, Peter Ryabinin, Michael A. Mooney, Hanna C. Gustafsson, Sarah Karalunas, Joel T. Nigg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current investigation extended prior cross-sectional mapping of etiological factors, transdiagnostic effortful and affective traits, and ADHD symptoms to longitudinal pathways extending from two etiological domains: polygenic and prenatal risk. Hypotheses were (1) genetic risk for ADHD would be related to inattentive ADHD symptoms in adolescence and mediated by childhood effortful control; (2) prenatal smoking would be related to hyperactive-impulsive ADHD symptoms during childhood and mediated by childhood surgency; and (3) there would be age-related variation, such that mediation of genetic risk would be larger for older than younger ages, whereas mediation of prenatal risk would be larger in earlier childhood than at later ages. Participants were 849 children drawn from the Oregon ADHD-1000 Cohort, which used a case control sample and an accelerated longitudinal design to track development from childhood (at year 1 ages 7–13) through adolescence (at year 6 ages 13–19). Results showed the mediational pathway from prenatal smoking through surgency to hyperactivity-impulsivity at Year 1 was significant (indirect effect estimate =.053, p <.01). The mediational pathway from polygenic risk through effortful control to inattention at Year 6 was also significant (indirect effect estimate =.084, p <.01). Both results were independent of the association between inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity and control for the alternative etiological input and held across parent- and teacher-report of ADHD symptoms. In line with dual pathway models of ADHD, early prenatal risk for hyperactivity-impulsivity appears to operate through surgency, while polygenic genetic risk for inattention appears mediated by effortful control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalResearch on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • ADHD
  • Effortful control
  • Genetics
  • Pathways
  • Prenatal smoking
  • Surgency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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