Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder among children with and without intellectual disability: An examination across time

C. L. Neece, B. L. Baker, J. Blacher, Keith Crnic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Background Children with intellectual and developmental disabilities are at heightened risk for mental disorders, and disruptive behaviour disorders appear to be the most prevalent. The current study is a longitudinal examination of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among children with and without intellectual disability (ID) across ages 5 to 8. Method We assessed 228 5-year-old children, 87 with ID and 141 with typical development (TD), for clinical diagnoses using a structured interview. These interviews were conducted with mothers annually from child age 5 to 8. Results Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder was over 3 times as prevalent in the ID group as in the TD group across ages 5, 6, 7 and 8. The diagnosis of ADHD tended to emerge earlier and was more stable in the ID group; however, the total number and relative frequency of ADHD symptoms endorsed appeared to be similar within the two groups across time. With respect to the developmental course, the trajectories of ADHD inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms over time were similar in the two groups. Discussion Children with ID appear to be at heightened risk for ADHD and they may experience a longer and more persistent course of the disorder. These findings highlight the need for making interventions available for early treatment of this condition in children with ID.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)623-635
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Behaviour problems
  • Children
  • Intellectual disability
  • Longitudinal studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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