Co-occurrence of motor problems and autistic symptoms in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Angela M. Reiersen, John N. Constantino, Richard D. Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate the relation between parent reports of motor problems and clinically significant autistic symptoms in children with and without attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Method: Subjects were male (n = 521) and female (n = 330) twins from an epidemiological study of ADHD, ages 7 to 19 years at assessment using the Child Behavior Checklist and semistructured psychiatric diagnostic interviews. Parent-rated Social Responsiveness Scale questionnaires were returned for 62% of 1,647 individuals who participated in interviews. After exclusion of subjects with incomplete data or evidence of mental retardation, 851 subjects (52%) were available for the present study analysis. Each subject was classified by DSM-IV ADHD subtype and assigned to one of seven population-defined ADHD subtypes based on latent class analysis of DSM-IV ADHD symptoms. Within each ADHD subtype, we examined the relation between Child Behavior Checklist motor problem endorsement and elevated autistic symptoms on the Social Responsiveness Scale. Results: Motor problems and high levels of autistic traits were most common in individuals with combined-type ADHD. Within each of the clinically relevant DSM-IV and latent class ADHD subtypes, individuals with the combination of motor problems and ADHD were more likely to have high levels of autistic traits than those with ADHD alone. Conclusions: Children with the combination of ADHD and parent-reported motor coordination deficits have elevated levels of autistic symptoms. Targeted treatment and prevention interventions may be warranted. The exclusion criteria for DSM-IV ADHD should be revised to reflect these population-based findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)662-672
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Autism
  • DAMP
  • Motor coordination


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