The Relationship between Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Subsyndromal Mood Disorders in Adults

Joke Meirens, Gina Rossi, Hugo D'Haenen, Raymond Cluydts

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)


Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder of inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity that affects 8-12% of children worldwide. Although the rate of ADHD falls with age, at least half of children with the disorder will have impairing symptoms in adulthood. (Biederman & Faraone, 2005; Asherson et al., 2007). ADHD often goes together with a wide range of comorbid disorders (Barkley, 2006). Of special interest are the subsyndromal mood disorders such as dysthymia and cyclothymia, which are chronic, mild forms of the full-blown unipolar and bipolar disorders. Gaining a better insight into the relation between ADHD and these disorders will improve treatment of both. In the current study we focus on this relationship within a specific clinical population of adults (N = 100) between 18 and 59 years old (mean = 39.66, SD = 9.24), recruited at an inpatient clinic and at the organisation 'Zitstil', specialised in ADHD. The presence of ADHD was measured by the Adult Self-Report for Ages 18-59 (ASR; Achenbach et al., 2003) on the basis of the DSM-Oriented ADHD scale (including the hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive types). To detect a tendency towards mood disorders, the two scales of the General Behavior Inventory (GBI; Depue et al., 1981) were used.
Our results indicate that subjects with high ADHD scores also tend to have high scores on the hypomanic/biphasic and the depressive scale of the GBI. However, given the significant positive correlations, differential diagnosis between ADHD and subsyndromal mood disorders is also extremely challenging and needs to be clarified in future research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBelgian Association for Psychological Science
EditorsUniversity Of Leuven
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2008

Publication series

NameBelgian Association for Psychological Science

Bibliographical note

University of Leuven


  • ADHD
  • (subsyndromal) mood disorder
  • ASR
  • GBI


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