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Assessment of age-at-onset criterion for adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 September 2021

Lucy Riglin
Affiliation:
Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Cardiff University, UK
Rachel Blakey
Affiliation:
Population Health Science Institute, University of Bristol; and MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit, University of Bristol, UK
Kate Langley
Affiliation:
Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Cardiff University, UK; and School of Psychology, Cardiff University, UK
Ajay K. Thapar
Affiliation:
Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Cardiff University, UK
Sharifah Shameem Agha
Affiliation:
Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Cardiff University, UK
George Davey Smith
Affiliation:
Population Health Science Institute, University of Bristol; and MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit, University of Bristol, UK
Evie Stergiakouli
Affiliation:
Population Health Science Institute, University of Bristol; and MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit, University of Bristol, UK
Anita Thapar*
Affiliation:
Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Cardiff University, UK
*
Correspondence: Anita Thapar. Email: thapar@cardiff.ac.uk

Summary

To investigate the accuracy of the age-at-onset criterion in those who meet other DSM-5 criteria for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, using a prospective population cohort we compared four different approaches to asking those aged 25 years (n = 138) when their symptoms started. Receiver operating characteristic curves showed variation between the approaches (χ(3) = 8.99, P = 0.03); all four showed low discrimination against symptoms that had been assessed when they were children (area under the curve: 0.57–0.68). Asking adults to recall specific symptoms may be preferable to recalling at what age symptoms started. However, limitations to retrospective recall add to debate on the validity of ADHD age-at-onset assessment.

Type
Short report
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Royal College of Psychiatrists

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