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February 1996

Psychiatric and Developmental Disorders in Families of Children With Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pediatrics (Drs Roizen, Blondis, Kieffer, and Stein), Psychiatry (Drs Roizen, Rubinoff, Kieffer, and Stein), and Statistics (Dr Irwin), Wyler Children's Hospital and La Rabida Children's Hospital and Research Center, the University of Chicago (Ill); and Ohio State University, Columbus (Dr Irwin).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996;150(2):203-208. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1996.02170270085013

Objective:  To evaluate whether a pediatric family history obtained via a brief parent interview would reveal a high prevalence of psychiatric and developmental disorders in the family members of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) compared with a group of children with another chronic developmental disability, Down syndrome (DS).

Design:  A controlled cross-sectional group comparison study.

Setting:  An interdisciplinary hyperactivity and learning problem clinic and a DS clinic located in a large, urban tertiary care teaching hospital in Chicago, Ill.

Participants:  A total of 140 children with ADHD and 163 children with DS of comparable socioeconomic status.

Measures:  Using a screening questionnaire and parent interview, the developmental pediatricians obtained a family history.

Results:  By parent report, children with ADHD were significantly more likely than the control children with DS to have a parent affected by alcoholism (P=.007), other drug abuse (P<.001), depression (P<.001), delinquency (P<.001), learning disabilities (P<.001), and ADHD (P<.001). Similar patterns were evidenced in other first- and second-degree relatives.

Conclusions:  The high reported frequency of psychiatric and developmental disorders in the families of children with ADHD requires that the treating clinician explore the area of family psychiatric and developmental history and use the findings to formulate a comprehensive treatment plan that includes anticipatory guidance and psychosocial intervention.(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996;150:203-208)

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