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, 44 (4), 637-46

The Psychosocial Functioning of Children and Spouses of Adults With ADHD

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The Psychosocial Functioning of Children and Spouses of Adults With ADHD

Klaus Minde et al. J Child Psychol Psychiatry.

Abstract

Background: It is unclear what the impact of parental ADHD is on the day-to-day life of the rest of the family and how it contributes to the intergenerational transmission of this disorder.

Method: The psychosocial functioning of 23 spouses and 63 children of 33 families with an ADHD parent and 20 spouses and 40 children of 26 comparison families was examined. Both adults and their spouses were assessed for lifetime and current Axis I and Axis II diagnoses, present general psychiatric symptoms and their marital relationships. Children were screened for ADHD and other problems, using the C-DISC, CBLC, TRF and the Social Adjustment Inventory.

Results: Children with an ADHD parent had higher rates of psychopathology than those from comparison families. Children with ADHD had more co-morbidities than non-ADHD children. Family and marital functions were impaired in ADHD families regardless of the gender of the affected parent. Children without ADHD from families with one psychiatrically healthy parent did well while the behaviour of children with ADHD was always poor and not associated with parental mental health.

Conclusion: The results underscore the strong genetic contribution to ADHD and the need to carefully assess the non-ADHD parent as they seem to influence the well-being of non-ADHD children in families with an ADHD parent.

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