Attentional Control Explains Covariation Between Symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Anxiety During Adolescence

Rebecca J. Brooker, Mollie N. Moore, Carol A. Van Hulle, Charles R. Beekman, J. Patrick Begnoche, Kathryn Lemery, H. Hill Goldsmith

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Symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anxiety are common during adolescence and frequently co-occur. However, the genetic and environmental influences that underlie this co-occurrence are understudied. Using a large twin sample (N = 1,017), we examined cross-sectional genetic and environmental influences on ADHD and anxiety symptoms during childhood. We also explored whether these influences were shared with attentional control, a putative mechanism for symptom comorbidity. We found evidence for common genetic and nonshared environmental influences on the covariation among attentional control, ADHD, and anxiety symptoms, supporting the putative role of attentional control as a mechanism by which comorbid problems may develop. Genetic factors also accounted for symptom co-occurrence after controlling for covariation with attentional control, suggesting the presence of additional unmeasured mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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