Cognitive, emotional, and social functioning of preschoolers with attention deficit hyperactivity problems


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is associated with deficits in different functional domains. It remains unclear if deficits in different domains are equally strong in early childhood, and which deficits are specific to ADHD. Here, we describe functional domains in preschoolers and assess deficits in children with ADHD problems, by comparing them to preschoolers with other mental health problems or who develop typically. The ADHD Study assessed 1195 ca. 3.5 years old preschoolers through a semi-structured parent interview, parent questionnaires, and with neuropsychological tests. We determined functional domains by applying factor analytic methods to a broad set of questionnaire- and test-scales. Using resulting factor scores, we employed a Bayesian hierarchical regression to estimate functional deficits in children with ADHD. We found that preschoolerstextbackslashtextquoteright functioning could be described along the seven relatively independent dimensions activity level and regulation, executive function, cognition, language, emotion regulation, introversion, and sociability. Compared to typically developing preschoolers, those with ADHD had deficits in all domains except introversion and sociability. Only deficits in activity level regulation and executive functions were larger than 0.5 standardised mean deviations and larger than deficits of children with other mental health problems. Preschoolers with ADHD have deficits in multiple functional domains, but only impairments in activity level and regulation and executive functions are specific for ADHD and large enough to be clinically significant. Research on functioning in these domains will be important for understanding the development of ADHD, and for improving treatment and prevention approaches.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.Funding StatementNo project-specific fundingAuthor DeclarationsI confirm all relevant ethical guidelines have been followed, and any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained.YesThe details of the IRB/oversight body that provided approval or exemption for the research described are given below.Regional Committees for Medical Research Ethics - South East Norway https.// necessary patient/participant consent has been obtained and the appropriate institutional forms have been archived.YesI understand that all clinical trials and any other prospective interventional studies must be registered with an ICMJE-approved registry, such as I confirm that any such study reported in the manuscript has been registered and the trial registration ID is provided (note. if posting a prospective study registered retrospectively, please provide a statement in the trial ID field explaining why the study was not registered in advance).Yes I have followed all appropriate research reporting guidelines and uploaded the relevant EQUATOR Network research reporting checklist(s) and other pertinent material as supplementary files, if applicable.YesData can be obtain through application to the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) https.//

Guido Biele
Guido Biele

My research interests include statistical and cognitive modeling around ADHD.