Ramos R, Freire C, Julvez J, Fernandez MF, Garcia-Esteban R, Torrent M, Sunyer J, Olea N. Association of ADHD symptoms and social competence with cognitive status in preschoolers. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2013 Mar;22(3):153-64. doi: 10.1007/s00787-012-0334-1

We aimed to investigate the association of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms and social competence outcomes with cognitive status in preschool children. The study population was drawn from three birth cohorts belonging to the Spanish INMA (Infancia y Medio Ambiente) project: Menorca (n = 289), Ribera d'Ebre (n = 60), and Granada (n = 108). Children were assessed at the age of 4 years for cognitive functions (McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities, MSCA) by psychologists and for inattention and hyperactivity symptoms (ADHD Criteria of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, ADHD-DSM-IV) and social competence (California Preschool Social Competence Scale) by their teachers. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to examine potential associations between behavioral outcomes (ADHD symptoms and social competence) and MSCA cognitive outcomes, adjusting for confounders. The presence of general ADHD symptoms (inattention, hyperactivity, or both) and poorer social competence both showed negative associations with cognitive outcomes. When we compared children according to ADHD subtypes, those with inattention symptoms alone and those with both inattention and hyperactivity symptoms showed significantly lower cognitive function scores in comparison to children with no ADHD symptoms. Behavioral dysfunctions in preschoolers may be associated with impairment of cognitive functions.

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