Research Reports - The association between traumatic brain injury and ADHD

J Psychiatr Res. 2015 Oct;69:174-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2015.08.004. Epub
2015 Aug 8.

Ilie G(1), Vingilis ER(2), Mann RE(3), Hamilton H(3), Toplak M(4), Adlaf EM(3),
Kolla N(5), Ialomiteanu A(6), van der Mass M(7), Asbridge M(8), Vingilis-Jaremko
L(9), Rehm J(3), Cusimano MD(10).

OBJECTIVE: This study describes the association between lifetime traumatic brain
injury (TBI) and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among
Canadian adults.
METHOD: A cross-sectional sample of 3993 Ontario adults aged 18 or older were
surveyed by Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) throughout 2011 and
2012 as part of the CAMH Monitor, a rolling survey assessing the health, mental
health and substance use of Ontario adults. TBI was defined as trauma to the head
that resulted in loss of consciousness for at least five minutes or overnight
hospitalization. ADHD was measured by the 6-item ASRS screener for adult ADHD,
and self-reported history of diagnosed ADHD.
RESULTS: Among adults with a history of TBI, 6.6% (95% CI: 4.7, 9.4) screened
ADHD positive, and 5.9% (95% CI: 3.6, 9.5) reported having been diagnosed with
ADHD in their lifetime. Adults with lifetime TBI had significantly greater odds
of scoring positive on the ADHD/ASRS screen (OR = 2.49, 95% CI: 1.54, 4.04), and
of reporting a history of diagnosed ADHD (OR = 2.64, 95% CI: 1.40, 4.98) than
without TBI, when holding values of sex, age, and education constant.
CONCLUSION: Significant positive associations between lifetime TBI and both
current and past ADHD were observed among adults in this population. More
research to understand these associations, and their significance for the
etiology and management of TBI and ADHD, is needed.

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