Longitudinal Trajectories of ADHD Symptomatology in Offspring of Parents With Bipolar Disorder and Community Controls

Objective: To compare the psychopathology and longitudinal course of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptomatology and global functioning between the offspring with ADHD of parents with bipolar disorder and the offspring with ADHD of community control parents.

Method: One hundred twenty-two offspring with ADHD of parents with bipolar disorder and 48 offspring with ADHD of control parents from the Pittsburgh Bipolar Offspring Study (BIOS) were included. DSM-IV lifetime psychiatric disorders were ascertained through the Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children–Present and Lifetime version (K-SADS-PL). The outcome measures of ADHD symptoms were ascertained at intake and every other year for a period of 6 years using the ADHD section of the K-SADS-PL and the Disruptive Behavior Disorder rating scale (DBD). Global functioning was assessed using the Children’s Global Assessment Scale (CGAS).

Results: The offspring with ADHD of parents with bipolar disorder showed higher lifetime prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders relative to the offspring with ADHD of control parents (P values ≤ .03). For both groups of offspring with ADHD, the hyperactivity, impulsivity, and total K-SADS-PL ADHD scores decreased over time (P values < .001) without differences between the 2 groups. There were no between- or within-group differences in the inattention scores over time. The DBD ADHD scores decreased with age in both groups (P values < .002) without differences between the 2 groups. For both groups of offspring with ADHD, the global functioning did not improve over time.

Conclusions: Offspring with ADHD of parents with bipolar disorder have more psychopathology relative to offspring with ADHD of control parents. However, there were no differences in the developmental courses of ADHD symptomatology between these 2 groups of ADHD youth.

J Clin Psychiatry 2015;76(5):599–606

https://doi.org/10.4088/JCP.14m09095