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Efficacy of Retrospective Recall of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms: A Twin Study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 February 2012

Mark R. Schultz*
Affiliation:
Psychology Department, Boston University, Boston, United States of America. mschult@bu.edu
Keren Rabi
Affiliation:
Psychology Department, Boston University, Boston, United States of America.
Stephen V. Faraone
Affiliation:
Medical Genetics Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, United States of America.
William Kremen
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Deigo, La Jolla, California, United States of America.
Michael J. Lyons
Affiliation:
Psychology Department, Boston University, Boston, United States of America.
*
*Address for correspondence: Mark Schultz, Psychology Department, Boston University, 648 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02215, USA.

Abstract

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Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is currently recognized as a neurobiological, genetically based disorder in both children and adults. In this article we examine whether, by using a sample of middle-aged male twin veterans, the phenotypic characterization, prevalence, heritability and the longitudinal course of the illness is comparable to results observed in samples of children and adolescents. We evaluated the utility of adult reports of lifetime ADHD symptoms by examining the heritability of retrospectively reported childhood symptoms, using both symptom-based and discrete classification- based approaches, as well as examining the persistence of ADHD symptoms into adulthood for that subsample of individuals who were judged to possibly have ADHD as children. Our results showed prevalence rates that were approximately similar to those observed in other studies, demonstrable familiality, similar item endorsement patterns, a strong genetic association between hyperactive and inattentive subtypes, and a longitudinal decline in symptom severity. We concluded that while assessing ADHD in adult probands may be less accurate than with children or adolescents, since it demonstrates several characteristics in common with other assessment techniques it remains a viable diagnostic and research strategy, even with population samples.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2006
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