J Korean Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry.  2021 Jul;32(3):118-125. 10.5765/jkacap.210003.

Effects of Adversities during Childhood on Anxiety Symptoms in Children and Adolescents: Comparison of Typically Developing Children and Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder Group

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine and Institute of Brain Research, Chungnam National University, Daejeon, Korea
  • 3Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Neuropsychiatry, Clinical Research Institute, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea

Abstract


Objectives
Childhood adversity is a risk factor for anxiety symptoms, but it affects anxiety symptoms in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The current study aimed to examine the association between childhood adversity and anxiety symptoms in participants with and without ADHD.
Methods
Data were obtained from a school-based epidemiological study of 1017 randomly selected children and adolescents. The ADHD and non-ADHD groups were divided using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children Predictive Scale (DPS). The DPS was also used to assess comorbidities such as anxiety and mood disorders. The childhood adversities were assessed using the Early Trauma Inventory Self Report-Short Form, and the anxiety symptoms were assessed using the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Disorders. Linear and logistic regression models were used to investigate the association between childhood adversity and anxiety in the ADHD and non-ADHD groups with adjustments for age and sex.
Results
This study found that the ADHD group did not show any significant association between anxiety symptoms and childhood adversities, whereas the non-ADHD group always showed a significant association. In a subgroup analysis of the non-ADHD group, the normal group without any psychiatric disorders assessed with DPS demonstrated a statistically significant association between childhood adversities and anxiety symptoms. These results were consistent with the association between childhood adversities and anxiety disorders assessed using DPS, as shown by logistic regression.
Conclusion
The association between anxiety symptoms and childhood adversities statistically disappears in ADHD; ADHD may mask or block the association. Further longitudinal research is necessary to investigate this relationship.

Keyword

Adverse childhood experiences; Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; Anxiety
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