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Is an irritable ADHD profile traceable using personality dimensions?

Research group Van Someren
Publication year 2021
Published in European child & adolescent psychiatry
Authors T.F. Blanken, Ophélie Courbet, Nathalie Franc, Ariadna Albajara Sáenz, Eus Van Someren, Philippe Peigneux, Thomas Villemonteix

Pediatric attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a heterogeneous condition. In particular, children with ADHD display varying profiles of dispositional traits, as assessed through temperament and personality questionnaires. Previous data-driven community detection analyses based on temperament dimensions identified an irritable profile of patients with ADHD, uniquely characterized by elevated emotional dysregulation symptoms. Belonging to this profile increased the risk of developing comorbid disorders. Here, we investigated whether we could replicate this profile in a sample of 178 children with ADHD, using community detection based on personality dimensions. Stability of the identified profiles, of individual classifications, and clinical prediction were longitudinally assessed over a 1-year interval. Three personality profiles were detected: The first two profiles had high levels of neuroticism, with the first displaying higher ADHD severity and lower openness to experience (profile 1; N = 38), and the second lower agreeableness (profile 2; N = 73). The third profile displayed scores closer to the normative range on all five factors (profile 3; N = 67). The identified profiles did only partially replicate the temperament-based profiles previously reported, as higher levels of neuroticism were found in two of the three detected profiles. Nonetheless, despite changes in individual classifications, the profiles themselves were highly stable over time and of clinical predictive value. Whereas children belonging to profiles 1 and 2 benefited from starting medication, children in profile 3 did not. Hence, belonging to an emotionally dysregulated profile at baseline predicted the effect of medication at follow-up over and above initial ADHD symptom severity. This finding suggests that personality profiles could play a role in predicting treatment response in ADHD.

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