Li, James J. (2019). Assessing phenotypic and polygenic models of ADHD to identify mechanisms of risk for longitudinal trajectories of externalizing behaviors. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
Background: Children with ADHD frequently engage in higher rates of externalizing behaviors in adulthood relative to children without. However, externalizing behaviors vary across development, and not all children with ADHD will go on to exhibit externalizing behaviors as adults. Furthermore, little is known about how this risk unfolds across development. Phenotypic and polygenic models of childhood ADHD were used to predict individual differences in adult externalizing trajectories. Supportive parenting, school connectedness, and peer closeness were then examined as causal mechanisms. Methods: Data were from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (N=7,674). Externalizing behavior was measured using data from age 18-32 and modeled using latent class growth analysis. Child ADHD was measured using retrospective self-report (phenotypic model) and genome-wide polygenic risk scores (polygenic model). Multiple mediation models examined the direct and indirect effects of the phenotypic and polygenic models (separately) on externalizing trajectories through the effects of adolescent supportive parenting, school connectedness, and peer closeness. Results: Phenotypic and polygenic models of ADHD were associated with being in the High Decreasing (3.2% of sample) and Moderate (16.1%) adult externalizing trajectories, but not the severe Low Increasing trajectory (2.6%), relative to the Normal trajectory (78.2%). Associations between both models of ADHD on the High Decreasing and Moderate trajectories were mediated through the effects of school connectedness, but not supportive parenting or peer closeness. Conclusions: Findings shed light on how childhood ADHD affects downstream psychosocial processes that then predict specific externalizing outcomes in adulthood. They also reinforce the importance of fostering a strong school environment for adolescents with (and without) ADHD, as this context plays a critical role in shaping the development of externalizing behaviors in adulthood.
An OSF preprint was online on August 19, 2018: 10.31219 https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/z2hng
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Li, James J.
May 01, 2019