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ADHD in Adults

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Depression and ADHD Life Events

This article** examines the co-occurrence of adverse life events and depression in a cohort of older adults with ADHD. The study is important as ADHD and depression are highly co-morbid in both younger and older adults. The authors examined the co-occurrence of life events as a possible link with ADHD and depression. Patients (n=230) in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) were examined for the presence of ADHD with the DIVA (Diagnostic Interview for ADHD in Adults).

The authors found that the older adults with ADHD had significantly more depressive symptoms and life events than the older adults without ADHD. One caveat to the interpretation of this data is that non-DSM diagnostic criteria were employed. Never the less, this association of depression and life events is of interest as it may highlight another potential consequence of the inattention or impulsivity seen with ADHD and highlights the need for future study of this association.

Logistic and linear regression analyses were used to examine the relationship between ADHD symptoms, depressive symptoms and life events. Subjects with significant cognitive decline were excluded from the sample to remove this potential confound. ADHD symptom criteria were defined as having four significant symptoms of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity in the six months prior to the interview, which is more liberal than the cut-off of five significant symptoms in DSM-5 and six significant symptoms in DSM-IV; however a stricter cut-off than DSM criteria was used of requiring six symptoms of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity in childhood. Depressive symptoms were assessed with the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression scale (CES-D).


** E.J. Semeijn, H.C. Comijs, J.J.S. Kooij, M. Michielsen, A.T.F. Beekman, D.J.H. Deeg. The role of adverse life events on depression in older adult with ADHD. Journal of Affective Disorders. DOI: http:

About the author

Vice Chair for Education at | 212-263-3580 | + posts

Lenard A. Adler, MD is Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Grossman School of Medicine.  He is also the  Vice Chair for Education, Department of Psychiatry, and Director of the Adult ADHD Program.  He is on the Program Committee of ADHD in Adults.  His research examines ways to evaluate and treat people who have ADHD, such as by using new assessment tools, medications, and psychotherapies.