Functional Impairment Differences among Youth with ADHD: The Role of Comorbid Anxiety and Mood Disorders

Adam Michael Reid, Paulo Graziano, Joseph McNamara, Adrian Paneto, Gary Geffken

University of Florida


The objective of this research was to investigate differences in functional impairment between youth with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and an Anxiety Disorder (ADHD + AD) or a Mood Disorder (ADHD + MD) by comparing average impairment on one clinician-rated (Global Assessment of Functioning) and three parent-rated (Adaptability, Metacognition, and Psychosocial) measures of functional impairment. Participants for this study included 59 youth with 6-17 years of age who were receiving a psychoeducational assessment at a clinic in the Southeastern United States. Results were analyzed using a Multivariate Analysis of Covariance. Overall, youth with ADHD + MD had more functional impairment than youth with ADHD + AD or youth with just solely ADHD. Youth with ADHD + AD did not have significantly worse impairment on three of four archetypes of functional impairment compared to those with solely ADHD. Youth with ADHD + MD represent a unique ADHD cohort that has elevated impairment, highlighting the importance of addressing comorbid mood symptoms in the recommendations given during a psychoeducational assessment for ADHD, as well as adjusting the treatment of youth with ADHD and a comorbid internalizing disorder appropriately. Journal of Nature and Science, 1(1):e31, 2015.

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