Anxiety and depression in parents of a Brazilian non-clinical sample of attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) students

D. Segenreich D. Fortes G. Coutinho G. Pastura P. Mattos About the authors

Higher prevalence rates of anxiety and depression have been reported in parents of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The interaction between the burden of ADHD in offspring, a higher prevalence rate of this highly inherited disorder in parents, and comorbidities may explain this finding. Our objective was to investigate levels of ADHD, anxious and depressive symptomatology, and their relationship in parents of ADHD children from a non-clinical sample using a dimensional approach. The sample included 396 students enrolled in all eight grades of a public school who were screened for ADHD using the SNAP IV rating scale. Positive cases were confirmed through a semi-structured interview. Parents of all 26 ADHD students and 31 paired controls were enrolled. A sample of 36 parents of ADHD children (21 mothers, 15 fathers) and 30 parents of control children (18 mothers, 12 fathers) completed the Adult Self Report Scale, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and Beck Depression Inventory in order to investigate anxious and depressive symptomatology. Probands' mothers presented a higher level of ADHD symptomatology (with only inattention being a significant cluster). Again, mothers of ADHD children presented higher depressive and anxiety levels; however, these did not correlate with their own ADHD symptomatology. Only trait-anxiety levels were higher in ADHD mothers. Our findings suggest that: 1) anxious and depressive symptoms might be more prevalent in mothers of ADHD students; 2) anxious and depressive symptomatology might be independent of impairment associated with ADHD symptoms; 3) anxious and depressive symptoms are independent of the presence of ADHD.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; ADHD; Anxiety; Depression

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