Familial aggregation of ADHD characteristics

J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2000 Dec;28(6):585-94. doi: 10.1023/a:1005187216138.


Patterns of familial aggregation of ADHD symptoms in parents of ADHD and non-ADHD children were examined. Within the ADHD sample, symptom aggregation was examined as a function of biological relationship, parent and child gender, and children's comorbid diagnoses. Participants consisted of parents of 579 children with ADHD, Combined Type participating in the multimodal treatment study of children with ADHD and parents of 288 normal control participants. Adult symptoms of ADHD were measured by both self-report and report of a significant other. Results indicated that the parents of children with ADHD had higher ratings of inattention/cognitive problems, hyperactivity/restlessness, impulsivity/emotional lability, and lower self-concept than parents of children without ADHD on both self-report and other-report ratings. Within the ADHD sample of children, other-report ratings of inattention/cognitive problems and impulsivity/emotional lability were higher for biological parents compared to nonbiological parents whereas self-ratings were not related to biological status. These findings support previous research documenting familial aggregation of ADHD and appear to strengthen the hypothesis that there is a genetic contribution to ADHD.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / genetics*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Cognition
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior
  • Male
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sampling Studies