Category: ADHD - Child

PS6- #B37 - Does ADHD Predict Depressive Symptoms in African American Children?

Friday, Nov 17
2:45 PM – 3:45 PM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: ADHD - Child / Adolescent | African Americans/Black Americans | Depression

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in youth is often accompanied by comorbid disorders such as depression (Hervey-Jumper et al., 2006). Studies that have explored ADHD and depression in youth have either included primarily Caucasian samples or have not reported the racial make-up of their sample altogether; therefore, limited conclusions can be drawn about the symptoms of depression in African American youth with ADHD (Miller, et al., 2009). Furthermore, some studies have identified differences in depression symptomatology across racial groups (Riolo et. al., 2005); thus, it cannot be assumed that ADHD is associated with depression in African American youth as it has been found in Caucasian samples. This study seeks to address this by investigating whether or not ADHD predicts depressive symptoms in African American youth.


Participants in this study included 78 African American maternal caregivers (M age = 35.69, SD age = 6.60) of children (M age = 7.72, SD age = 1.37) with (N = 49) and without ADHD (N = 29). A demographic questionnaire was used to assess socioeconomic status (SES). The Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (KSADS-PL) was used to assess for child ADHD and depression. Parent and teacher versions of the ADHD-IV Rating Scale were also used to assess for child ADHD. Finally, material depression was measured using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II).


First, an independent-samples t-test was performed to compare depressive symptoms between the ADHD and non-ADHD groups. Analyses revealed significant group differences on depressive symptoms between the ADHD group (M = .501, SD = .794) and non-ADHD group (M = .103, SD = .310; t(68.160) = -3.199, p = .002). Second, a linear regression was conducted. Given the literature on possible associations between maternal depression and SES and child depression, both variables were controlled for in the analyses. Results of the linear regression revealed that, for African American children, ADHD predicted depressive symptoms even after controlling for SES and maternal depression, R= .252, F(3, 71) = 7.963, p < .001.


Findings of this study are consistent with the existing literature on ADHD and depression that has included primarily Caucasian samples. This study specifically suggests that African American children with ADHD may be at risk for developing depressive symptoms, thus highlighting the importance of psychoeducation about comorbid ADHD and depression symptoms for African American caregivers of children with ADHD. One specific limitation of this study is that the sample had low levels of depression. As such, it may be difficult to determine whether or not ADHD predicts depressive symptoms in African American youth with high levels of depressive symptoms. Nevertheless, this study underscores the need for early identification of African American youth with ADHD in order to start treatment early and minimize risk for the development of comorbid depressive symptoms and associated impairment and negative outcomes. Overall, this study informs researchers and clinicians about the risk for depression in African American youth with ADHD and the subsequent need for targeted treatment to address this risk.

Stephanie A. Wilson

Doctoral Student
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia

Alfonso L. Floyd

Doctoral Student
Virginia Commonwealth University

Amanda M. Parks

Doctoral Student
Virginia Commonwealth University

Laura D. Eddy

Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student
Virginia Commonwealth University
Southern Pines, North Carolina

Heather A. Jones

Assistant Professor of Psychology
Virginia Commonwealth University