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Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and the stress response
Psychiatry Publications and Presentations
  • Jean A. King, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Russell A. Barkley, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Susan V. Barrett, University of Massachusetts Medical School
UMMS Affiliation
Department of Psychiatry
Publication Date
Document Type
Aggression; Attention Deficit Disorder with; Hyperactivity; Child; Child, Preschool; Comorbidity; Conduct Disorder; Female; Follow-Up Studies; Humans; Hydrocortisone; Male; Psychological Tests; Saliva; Stress, Psychological

BACKGROUND: Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a developmental disorder whose three main symptoms are impulsiveness, inattention, and hyperactivity. Researchers have proposed that the central deficit in ADHD is one of poor response inhibition. The present studies were designed to look at the functioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in response to mental stress in aggressive ADHD subjects participating in a longitudinal study of various psychosocial treatments.

METHODS: Pretest and posttest morning salivary samples for cortisol determination were collected from subjects given a battery of tests.

RESULTS: The study shows that ADHD subjects who maintained their diagnosis over the first year of the study had a blunted response to the stressor in comparison to those ADHD subjects who no longer retained the disorder 1 year later.

CONCLUSIONS: The data suggest that an impaired response to stress may be a marker for the more developmentally persistent form of the disorder.

Biol Psychiatry. 1998 Jul 1;44(1):72-4.
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Link to Article in PubMed
PubMed ID
Citation Information
Jean A. King, Russell A. Barkley and Susan V. Barrett. "Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and the stress response" Vol. 44 Iss. 1 (1998) ISSN: 0006-3223 (Linking)
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