Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder traits are a more important predictor of internalising problems than autistic traits

Luca Hargitai, Lucy Anne Livingston, Lucy Waldren, Ross Robinson, Christopher Jarrold, Punit Shah

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9 Citations (SciVal)


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are both linked to internalising problems like anxiety and depression. ASD and ADHD also often co-occur, making their individual statistical contributions to internalising disorders difficult to investigate. To address this issue, we explored the unique associations of self-reported ASD traits and ADHD traits with internalising problems using a large general population sample of adults from the United Kingdom (N = 504, 49% male). Classical regression analyses indicated that both ASD traits and ADHD traits were uniquely associated with internalising problems. Dominance and Bayesian analyses confirmed that ADHD traits were a stronger, more important predictor of internalising problems. However, brief depression and anxiety measures may not provide a comprehensive index of internalising problems. Additionally, we focused on recruiting a sample that was representative of the UK population according to age and sex, but not ethnicity, a variable that may be linked to internalising disorders. Nevertheless, our findings indicate that while ASD and ADHD uniquely predict internalising problems, ADHD traits are a more important statistical predictor than ASD traits. We discuss potential mechanisms underlying this pattern of results and the implications for research and clinical practice concerning neurodevelopmental conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number31
Number of pages7
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a GW4 award, ‘Neurodevelopmental Neurodiversity Network’. L.A.L is supported by the Waterloo Foundation. L.D.H and L.H.W. are supported by the Economic and Social Research Council.


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