Medical Comorbidity of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in US Adolescents

J Child Neurol. 2016 Oct;31(11):1282-9. doi: 10.1177/0883073816653782. Epub 2016 Jun 22.


Understanding patterns of medical comorbidity in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may lead to better treatment of affected individuals as well as aid in etiologic study of disease. This article provides the first systematic evaluation on the medical comorbidity of ADHD in a nationally representative sample (National Comorbidity Replication Survey-Adolescent Supplement; N = 6483) using formal diagnostic criteria. Survey-weighted odds ratios adjusted for demographics, additional medical, and mental disorders were calculated for associations between ADHD and medical conditions. Models adjusted for demographics revealed significantly increased odds of allergy, asthma, enuresis, headache/migraine, and serious stomach or bowel problems. After adjusting for comorbidity, across the medical conditions, enuresis and serious stomach problems were the strongest correlates of ADHD. These findings confirm the pervasive medical comorbidity of ADHD reported in previous clinical and community-based studies. The intriguing salience of enuresis and serious stomach or bowel conditions may also provide an important clue to multisystem involvement in ADHD.

Keywords: ADHD; Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders–Fourth Edition; National Comorbidity Replication Survey–Adolescent Supplement; comorbidity; enuresis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / complications
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology