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Investigating ADHD and ASD traits in the general population: what happens in adult life?

Riglin, Lucy, Leppert, Beate, Langley, Kate, Thapar, Ajay K., O’Donovan, Michael, Davey Smith, George, Stergiakouli, Evie, Tilling, Kate and Thapar, Anita 2020. Investigating ADHD and ASD traits in the general population: what happens in adult life? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
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Background. ADHD and ASD are generally considered early-onset disorders so most research has therefore tended to focus on children. Differences between ADHD/ASD in adult life and childhood have been noted, but few population-based studies have examined them in adulthood. Furthermore, interpretation of findings is hampered by changes in measure and from parent- to self-report. Method. We examined continuous/trait measures of parent- and self-rated ADHD and ASD) in adulthood (age 25 years) in a UK prospective longitudinal sample ALPSAC (the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children), using many of the same measures that parents reported on in childhood (N=6,064). Our aim was to investigate these traits in this population for mean-level sex differences, overlaps with other cognitive, learning and communication problems and their associations with polygenic risk scores (PRS) for neuropsychiatric disorders (ADHD, ASD, schizophrenia, depression and anxiety). Results. ADHD and ASD traits in adulthood, as in childhood, showed associations with childhood cognitive, learning and communication problems and with adult communication/language measures, although less so for self- than parent-ratings. Males had higher ADHD and ASD trait levels, but this was not as marked as in childhood. In adulthood, ADHD (both parent and self -rated) and ASD (parent-rated) symptoms showed associations with ADHD PRS; self-reported ADHD also showed association with depression PRS and self-reported ASD did not show strong PRS associations. Conclusions. Our findings suggest that in young adults, ADHD and ASD symptoms have similar characteristics as they do in in childhood. Associations with other cognitive, learning and communication problems, and with ADHD PRS, were somewhat less pronounced for self-reported adult ADHD and ASD symptoms, suggest

Item Type: Article
Status: In Press
Schools: Psychology
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0021-9630
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 25 June 2020
Date of Acceptance: 15 June 2020
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2020 01:56

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