Neuropsychological studies of late onset and subthreshold diagnoses of adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Faraone, Stephen V., Biederman, Joseph, Doyle, Alysa, Murray, Kate, Petty, Carter, Adamson, Joel J., & Seidman, Larry (2006) Neuropsychological studies of late onset and subthreshold diagnoses of adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Biological Psychiatry, 60(10), pp. 1081-1087.

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Abstract

Background

Diagnosing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults is difficult when the diagnostician cannot establish an onset prior to the DSM-IV criterion of age 7 or if the number of symptoms recalled does not achieve the DSM-IV threshold for diagnosis. Because neuropsychological deficits are associated with ADHD, we addressed the validity of the DSM-IV age at onset and symptom threshold criteria by using neuropsychological test scores as external validators.

Methods

We compared four groups of adults: 1) full ADHD subjects met all DSM-IV criteria for childhood-onset ADHD; 2) late-onset ADHD subjects met all criteria except the age at onset criterion; 3) subthreshold ADHD subjects did not meet full symptom criteria; and 4) non-ADHD subjects did not meet any of the above criteria.

Results

Late-onset and full ADHD subjects had similar patterns of neuropsychological dysfunction. By comparison, subthreshold ADHD subjects showed few neuropsychological differences with non-ADHD subjects.

Conclusions

Our results showing similar neuropsychological underpinning in subjects with late-onset ADHD suggest that the DSM-IV age at onset criterion may be too stringent. Our data also suggest that ADHD subjects who failed to ever meet the DSM-IV threshold for diagnosis have a milder form of the disorder.

Impact and interest:

84 citations in Scopus
73 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 87950
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), neuropsychology, diagnosis, adult, subthreshold
DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2006.03.060
ISSN: 0006-3223
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Developmental Psychology and Ageing (170102)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Health Clinical and Counselling Psychology (170106)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Deposited On: 07 Oct 2015 22:36
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2017 18:01

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