New insights into the comorbidity between ADHD and major depression in adolescent and young adult females

Joseph Biederman, Sarah W. Ball, Michael C. Monuteaux, Eric Mick, Thomas J. Spencer, Michelle McCreary, Michelle Cote, Stephen V. Faraone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

216 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The main aim of this study was to evaluate the association between attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and major depression (MD) in adolescent and young adult females. METHOD: Subjects were females with (n = 140) and without (n = 122) ADHD ascertained from pediatric and psychiatric settings. Subjects were followed prospectively for 5 years into adolescence and young adulthood and reassessed in multiple nonoverlapping domains including psychiatric, cognitive, interpersonal, family, and educational functioning. RESULTS: Females with ADHD had a 2.5 times higher risk for MD at adolescent follow-up compared with control females, adjusting for psychiatric comorbidity. MD in females with ADHD was associated with an earlier age at onset, greater than twice the duration, more severe depression-associated impairment, a higher rate of suicidality, and a greater likelihood of requiring psychiatric hospitalization than MD in control girls. Parental MD and proband mania were significant predictors of MD among females with ADHD, independently of other predictors. CONCLUSIONS: MD emerging in the context of ADHD in females is an impairing and severe comorbidity worthy of further clinical and scientific considerations. Copyright 2008

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-434
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Females
  • Major depression


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