Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Restricted Phenotypes Prevalence, Comorbidity, and Polygenic Risk Sensitivity in the ABCD Baseline Cohort

Michaela M. Cordova, Dylan M. Antovich, Peter Ryabinin, Christopher Neighbor, Michael A. Mooney, Nathan F. Dieckmann, Oscar Miranda-Dominguez, Bonnie J. Nagel, Damien A. Fair, Joel T. Nigg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the prevalence and major comorbidities of ADHD using different operational definitions in a newly available national dataset and to test the utility of operational definitions against genetic and cognitive correlates.

METHOD: The US Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study enrolled 11,878 children aged 9-10 years at baseline. ADHD prevalence, comorbidity, and association with polygenic risk score and laboratory-assessed executive functions were calculated at 4 thresholds of ADHD phenotype restrictiveness. Bias from missingness, sampling, and nesting were addressed statistically.

RESULTS: Prevalence of current ADHD for 9- to 10-year old children was 3.53% (95% CI 3.14%-3.92%) when Computerized Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children (K-SADS-COMP) score and parent and teacher ratings were required to converge. Of ADHD cases so defined, 70% had a comorbid psychiatric disorder. After control for overlapping comorbidity and ruling out for psychosis or low IQ, 30.9% (95% CI 25.7%-36.7%) had a comorbid disruptive behavior disorder, 27.4% (95% CI 22.3%-33.1%) had an anxiety or fear disorder, and 2.1% (95% CI 1.2%-3.8%) had a mood disorder. Children in the top decile of polygenic load incurred a 63% increased chance of having ADHD vs the bottom half of polygenic load (p < .01)-an effect detected only with a stringent phenotype definition. Dimensional latent variables for irritability, externalizing, and ADHD yielded convergent results for cognitive correlates.

CONCLUSION: This fresh estimate of national prevalence of ADHD in the United States suggests that the DSM-5 definition requiring multiple informants yields a prevalence of about 3.5%. Results may inform further ADHD studies in the ABCD sample.

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Effort on this project was supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program 2020239717 (Cordova) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant R37-MH59105 (Nigg). The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIH or of those who generously commented on aspects of the work.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry


  • ADHD
  • Comorbidity
  • Executive function
  • Polygenic score
  • Prevalence

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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