Psychiatric Comorbidities in a New Zealand Sample of Adults With ADHD

J Atten Disord. 2016 Dec;20(12):1030-1038. doi: 10.1177/1087054714529457. Epub 2014 Apr 17.


Objective: To examine the rates of psychiatric comorbidities within a New Zealand sample of adults with ADHD compared with a community control group.

Method: We merged six data sets to obtain a sample of 222 adults (158 ADHD, 64 controls). Comorbidities were assessed using the Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed. text rev. [DSM-IV-TR]) Axis-I disorders.

Results: Both groups were equivalent in IQ, socioeconomic status, gender, education, income levels, and age. Lifetime rates of psychiatric disorders were significantly higher in the ADHD group (83%) versus the control group (52%) with higher rates of major depressive disorder (MDD; 65% vs. 36%), social phobia (31% vs. 11%), substance abuse (26% vs. 8%), and alcohol abuse (32% vs. 14%). Within the ADHD group, other than a group difference in specific phobias, there were no gender differences.

Conclusion: The findings are consistent with international research; adults with ADHD in New Zealand have higher rates of psychiatric disorders than the general population.

Keywords: ADHD; adult; comorbidities; gender; psychiatric.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Phobic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Social Class
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult

Supplementary concepts

  • Phobia, Specific