Background: Most studies on temperamental and behavioral/emotional characteristics of oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) did not rule out the effect of comorbid attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The main objective of this study was to identify the temperamental and psychopathological patterns of ODD independent of comorbid ADHD. We also aimed to compare the patterns of temperament and psychopathology between ODD with and without ADHD.
Method: Parents of 2673 students, randomly selected from 19 representative schools in Seoul, Korea, completed the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children Version IV. Among 118 children and adolescents with ODD diagnosed by the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children Version IV, the parents of 94 subjects (mean age, 10.4 +/- 3.0 years) and the parents of a random sample of 94 age- and gender-matched non-ODD/non-ADHD children and adolescents completed the parent's version of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and the Junior Temperament and Character Inventory.
Results: Subjects with ODD showed temperament and character profiles of high Novelty Seeking, low Self-directedness, and low Cooperativeness, a distinct pattern on the CBCL, and were at increased risk for anxiety and mood disorders compared to the controls after controlling for the effect of comorbid ADHD. The children and adolescents with both ODD and ADHD showed decreased levels of Persistence and Self-directedness and higher scores on 4 subscales of the CBCL (Anxious/Depressed, Attention Problems, Delinquent Behaviors, and Aggressive Behaviors) compared to those with ODD only.
Conclusions: Oppositional defiant disorder is associated with specific temperamental and behavioral/emotional characteristics, independent of ADHD. Moreover, the results of this study support that co-occurring ADHD and ODD have differentially higher levels of behavioral and emotional difficulties.
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