Toward defining deficient emotional self-regulation in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder using the child behavior checklist: A controlled study

Thomas J. Spencer, Stephen V. Faraone, Craig B.H. Surman, Carter Petty, Allison Clarke, Holly Batchelder, Janet Wozniak, Joseph Biederman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

66 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Deficient emotional self-regulation (DESR) is characterized by deficits in self-regulating the physiological arousal caused by strong emotions. We examined whether a unique profile of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) would help identify DESR in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Methods: Subjects included 197 children with ADHD and 224 children without ADHD. We defined DESR if a child had an aggregate cut-off score of > 180 but < 210 on the Anxiety/Depression, Aggression, and Attention scales of the CBCL (CBCL-DESR). This profile was selected because of: 1) its conceptual congruence with the clinical concept of DESR; and 2) because its extreme (> 210) form has been previously associated with severe forms of mood and behavioral dysregulation in children with ADHD. All subjects were comprehensively assessed with structured diagnostic interviews and a wide range of functional measures. Results: Forty-four percent of children with ADHD had a positive CBCL-DESR profile versus 2% of controls (P < 0.001). The CBCL-DESR profile was associated with elevated rates of anxiety and disruptive behavior disorders, as well as significantly more impairments in emotional and interpersonal functioning. Conclusions: The CBCL-DESR profile helped identify a subgroup of children with ADHD who had a psychopathological and functional profile consistent with the clinical concept of DESR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-59
Number of pages10
JournalPostgraduate medicine
Volume123
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011

Keywords

  • Affective symptoms
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Emotional self-regulation
  • Severity of illness index
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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