Mental health in children and adolescents with ADHD: the roles of executive function and pharmacological treatment.

Bryant, Annie (2021) Mental health in children and adolescents with ADHD: the roles of executive function and pharmacological treatment. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

Background: Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects approximately 5% of children. Children with ADHD symptoms are more likely to develop depression than children without ADHD symptoms. Cognitive, neurological, biological, social and psychological factors have been proposed to explain this comorbidity.

Method: A systematic review and meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials were conducted to investigate the impact of children taking ADHD medications on symptoms of anxiety and depression. The relationship between ADHD and depression symptoms, and potential moderating effect of executive function (EF), was explored in a large transdiagnostic cross-sectional sample of children struggling at school.

Results: There was no significant effect of ADHD medications on symptoms of anxiety or depression in children and adolescents. In children struggling at school, there was no difference in ADHD symptoms or depression symptoms between children with and without an ADHD diagnosis. ADHD symptoms and EF deficits significantly, but independently, predicted depression symptoms in this sample.

Conclusions: We highlight the importance of implementing standardised mental health outcome measurement in ADHD medication trials. We corroborate existing evidence that ADHD symptoms and EF are related to depressive symptoms in children and adolescents. Like some existing studies, we found no evidence that EF moderated the relationship between ADHD and depression symptoms; other cognitive and biopsychosocial factors may moderate this relationship. Our findings from a transdiagnostic sample of children support a continuum model of ADHD symptoms and burden, rather than the traditional discrete diagnostic category.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2021 14:00
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2021 14:00
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/82056
DOI:

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