Comorbid depression is common in adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As yet, however, little is known about the factors associated with co-occurring depression in this population. To address this research gap, the current study examined the role of community violence exposure in the association between ADHD symptoms and depression.
Data came from 505 Russian adolescents [mean age 14.37 (SD = 0.96)] who had teacher-reported information on ADHD symptoms that was collected in conjunction with the Social and Health Assessment (SAHA). Adolescent self-reports of witnessing and being a victim of community violence were also obtained while depressive symptoms were self-assessed with an adapted version of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D). Logistic regression analyses were performed to examine associations.
In univariable analyses, both witnessing and being a victim of violence were associated with significantly increased odds for depressive symptoms in adolescents with ADHD symptoms compared to non-ADHD adolescents who had not experienced community violence. However, in the multivariable analysis only being a victim of violence continued to be associated with significantly increased odds for depression [odds ratio (OR) 4.67, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.33–16.35].
Exposure to community violence may be associated with depression in adolescents with ADHD symptoms. Clinicians should enquire about exposure to community violence in adolescents with ADHD/ADHD symptoms. Early therapeutic interventions to address the effects of violence exposure in adolescents with ADHD may be beneficial for preventing depression in this group.
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AK’s work was supported by the Miguel Servet contract financed by the CP13/00150 and PI15/00862 projects, integrated into the National R + D + I and funded by the ISCIII—General Branch Evaluation and Promotion of Health Research—and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF-FEDER).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.
Prior to being included in the study informed consent was obtained from all participants. The study was approved by the institutional review committee at the Northern State Medical University, Arkhangelsk, Russia. The study was performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.
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Stickley, A., Koposov, R., Koyanagi, A. et al. ADHD and depressive symptoms in adolescents: the role of community violence exposure. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 54, 683–691 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-019-01662-5
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
- Depressive symptoms
- Witness violence
- Violent victimization