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Reciprocal Developmental Relations Between ADHD and Anxiety in Adolescence: A Within-Person Longitudinal Analysis of Commonly Co-Occurring Symptoms

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Mark FreestonORCiD


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© The Author(s) 2020.Objective: Significant anxiety often occurs in the presence of ADHD symptoms; however, the reasons are not well understood. We aimed to establish whether the relations between ADHD symptons and anxiety are bidirectional or unidirectional. Method: Weexamined the developmental relations between ADHD and anxiety symptoms across adolescence (ages 13, 15, and 17) in a community-ascertained, normative longitudinal sample of 1,483 youth (52% male). We used an autoregressive latent trajectory model with structured residuals (ALT-SR) to examine within-person developmental relations between ADHD and anxiety symptoms to determine whether it is ADHD symptoms that lead to anxiety symptoms and/or the reverse. Results: Results suggested that there are reciprocal within-person developmental relations between ADHD and anxiety symptoms. Conclusions: Our findings support the recommendation that targeting ADHD symptoms can be fruitful for addressing anxiety symptoms; however, they suggest that targeting anxiety symptoms may also benefit ADHD symptoms. Results also underline the importance of careful assessment for underlying ADHD symptoms among adolescents presenting with anxiety.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Murray AL, Caye A, McKenzie K, Auyeung B, Murray G, Ribeaud D, Freeston M, Eisner M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Attention Disorders

Year: 2022

Volume: 26

Issue: 1

Pages: 109-118

Print publication date: 01/01/2022

Online publication date: 14/03/2020

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

ISSN (print): 1087-0547

ISSN (electronic): 1557-1246

Publisher: Sage Publications Inc.


DOI: 10.1177/1087054720908333


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