One-year trajectory analysis for ADHD symptoms and its associated factors in community-based children and adolescents in Taiwan.


Background: Several longitudinal studies have shown the partial symptomatic persistence of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in clinic-based samples. However, little is known about the patterns and trajectories of ADHD symptoms in community-based populations. Methods: To differentiate developmental trajectories of ADHD symptoms over 1 year, with a four-wave quarterly follow-up in children and adolescents in the community of Taiwan, we conducted this prospective study in 1281 students in grade 3, 5, and 8. All the students in the regular classes rather than special educational classes were eligible and recruited to the study. Inattention, hyperactivity-impulsivity, and opposition-defiance were rated by parent reports on the Chinese version of the Swanson, Nolan, and Pelham Version IV Scale (SNAP-IV). Group-based trajectory modeling and multivariable regression analyses were used to explore the individual, family and social factors associated with differential trajectories. Results: Trajectories were classified as Low (29.9-40.6%), Intermediate (52.5-58.5%) and High (6.9-12.5%) based on the symptom severity of ADHD symptoms assessed by the SNAP-IV. The proportion of children in the high ADHD trajectory might approximately reflect the prevalence of ADHD in Taiwan. The following factors differentiated High from Low trajectories: male gender, more externalizing problems, fewer prosocial behaviors, school dysfunction, more home behavioral problems, and less perceived family support. Conclusions: Our findings that the concurrent conditions of emotional or externalizing problems, as well as impaired school and home function at baseline, might differentiate the high ADHD symptoms trajectory from others could help developing the specific measures for managing high ADHD symptoms over time in a school setting.