Autistic traits in children with and without ADHD

Amelia Kotte, Gagan Joshi, Ronna Fried, Mai Uchida, Andrea Spencer, K. Yvonne Woodworth, Tara Kenworthy, Stephen V. Faraone, Joseph Biederman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To assess the implications of autistic traits (ATs) in youth with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) without a diagnosis of autism. METHODS: Participants were youth with (n = 242) and without (n = 227) ADHD and controls without ADHD in whom a diagnosis of autism was exclusionary. Assessment included measures of psychiatric, psychosocial, educational, and cognitive functioning. ATs were operationalized by using the withdrawn + social + thought problems T scores from the Child Behavior Checklist. RESULTS: A positive AT profile was significantly overrepresented among ADHD children versus controls (18% vs 0.87%; P <.001). ADHD children with the AT profile were significantly more impaired than control subjects in psychopathology, interpersonal, school, family, and cognitive domains. CONCLUSIONS: A substantial minority of ADHD children manifests ATs, and those exhibiting ATs have greater severity of illness and dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e612-e622
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • ADD
  • ADHD
  • AT
  • Attention deficit disorder
  • Attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder
  • Autism traits
  • Autistic traits
  • Comorbidity
  • Social disability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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