Stressful life events, especially Childhood Trauma, predict ADHD symptoms. Childhood Trauma and negatively biased memory are risk factors for affective disorders. The association of life events and bias with ADHD symptoms may inform about the etiology of ADHD. Memory bias was tested using a computer task in N = 675 healthy adults. Life events and ADHD symptoms were assessed using questionnaires. The mediation of the association between life events and ADHD symptoms by memory bias was examined. We explored the roles of different types of life events and of ADHD symptom clusters. Life events and memory bias were associated with overall ADHD symptoms as well as inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity symptom clusters. Memory bias mediated the association of Lifetime Life Events, specifically Childhood Trauma, with ADHD symptoms. Negatively biased memory may be a cognitive marker of the effects of Childhood Trauma on the development and/or persistence of ADHD symptoms.
Keywords: ADHD; Childhood Trauma; Memory bias; Persistence; Stressful events.