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Personality traits in adults with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and their unaffected first-degree relatives

  • Valentino Antonio Pironti (a1), Meng-Chuan Lai (a2), Ulrich Müller (a3), Edward Thomas Bullmore (a1) and Barbara Jacquelyn Sahakian (a1)...
Abstract
Background

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) shows clear, albeit heterogeneous, cognitive dysfunctions. However, personality traits are not well understood in adults with ADHD, and it is unclear whether they are predisposing factors or phenotypical facets of the condition.

Aims

To assess whether personality traits of impulsivity, sensation seeking and sensitivity to punishment and reward are predisposing factors for ADHD or aspects of the clinical phenotype.

Method

Twenty adults with ADHD, 20 unaffected first-degree relatives and 20 controls completed rating scales assessing traits of impulsivity, sensation seeking and sensitivity to punishment/reward.

Results

Compared with relatives and controls, individuals with ADHD showed increased impulsive personality traits, were more susceptible to boredom and presented hypersensitivity to reward but normal sensitivity to punishment.

Conclusions

High impulsivity traits, heightened sensitivity to reward and boredom are associated with the phenotype of ADHD, rather than being predisposing factors, as these traits were not shared between ADHD probands and their relatives.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Valentino Antonio Pironti, Department of Psychiatry, Herschel Smith Building for Brain and Mind Sciences, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge CB2 0SZ, UK. Email: vp271@cam.ac.uk
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Declaration of interest

E.T.B. is employed part-time by GSK and part-time by the University of Cambridge; he holds stock in GSK. B.J.S. consults for Cambridge Cognition, Servier and Lundbeck; she holds a grant from Janssen/J&J. U.M. has received honoraria for consultancy and speaking at conferences and travel expenses from Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Janssen-Cilag, Lundbeck, Pharmacia-Upjohn and UCB Pharma.

Footnotes
References
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Personality traits in adults with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and their unaffected first-degree relatives

  • Valentino Antonio Pironti (a1), Meng-Chuan Lai (a2), Ulrich Müller (a3), Edward Thomas Bullmore (a1) and Barbara Jacquelyn Sahakian (a1)...
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