ADHD Symptoms in Old age Childhood and Persisting ADHD symptoms in a Population-Based Swedish sample Aged 65-80

University dissertation from University of Gothenburg

Abstract: DEGREE OF LlCENCIA TE IN PSYCHOLOGY ABSTRACT Guldbcrg-Kjär, T. (20 Il). ADHD symptoms il! Old age. CflildllOOd and persistilIg ADHD symptoms in a poplI/atioll-based Swedish sample aged 65-80. Department of Psychology. University of Gothenburg, Swcden. Dur knowledge of uUention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has increascd in recent years. Given the sparse information about the course and manifestations in old agc, the overall aim of thc thesis was to explore the Qccurrencc to which elderly individuals retrospectivcly report symptoms that may indicate childhood ADHD and persisting ADHD symptoms in old age. In Study I the 25-item Wendcr Utah Rating Scale was administered in a population-hased sample of 2500 persons agcd 65 to 80. Dcmographics, self-ratings of problems in ehiIdhood, CUITent health and memory were also investiguted. A total of 1599 individuals participated whieh eOITesponds to u response rate of 64%. The prevalenee of self-ratcd childhood ADHD symptoms was 3,3% using a cut off seore of 36 or more in the WURS-seale. Men rated signifieantly morc ADHD symptoms. Thosl( who reported mare ehildhood ADHD symptoms also claimed general problems in ehildhood as well as worse CUITent health. In Study II the purpose was to examine the persistence of ADHD symptomatology across the lifespan by comparing older individuals' self-reports about eUITent ADHD symptoms and symptoms in ehildhood. Based on the WURS seores (beneath and above 36) in Study l, we randomly drew two sub-samples, cach with 30 individuals. They were followed-up by the Wender Riktad ADHD Symtom Skala (WRASS), a Swedish version of the Targeted Attention Deficit Disorder Rating Scale (TADOS). Our main finding was that higher WURS scores were signifieantly related to higher scares on the WRASS seale, indicating persistence of self-reportcd ADHD symptoms over the whole lifespan. Among those with a WURS seore of 36 or mare, 16 (53.3%) individuals seored 70 or more; the c1inieal cut-off used in Sweden. None of the individuals with a WURS seare below 36 seored higher than 70 on the WRASS seale. Conclusions: The proportion of individuals among 65-80 year olds, who report ehildhood ADHD symptoms, is slightly lower but eomparable to recent prevalenee rates of childhood ADHD. Our findings thus support the idea of a significant persistenee of ADHD symptoms from ehildhood to old age. The results encourage studies of ADHD using a lifespan perspective. particularly in examining ADHD symptoms in old agc. Keywords: ADHD. population-based. old people, lifespan, prevalence. persistencc. ISSN IIOI-718X ISRN GUIPSYKfAVH --255-SE Tailla Guldberg-Kjär, DepanmeTlt of Psychology, University of GotheTlbllrg, BOX 500, SE-40S 30 Gotllellburg, Pilot/e: +46451296743. E-mail: [email protected]

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