Family-genetic and psychosocial risk factors for DSM-III attention deficit disorder (ADD) were evaluated among the 457 first degree relatives of clinically referred children and adolescents with ADD compared with psychiatric and normal controls at the Child Psychiatry Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston. Relatives of ADD probands had a higher risk for ADD, antisocial disorders and mood disorders than did relatives of psychiatric and normal controls. The findings could not be accounted for by low social class or family disruption. [1]

COMMENT. These findings confirm that ADD is a highly familial disorder, and relatives of clinically referred ADD children and adolescents have a significantly increased risk for ADD.

Barkley RA et al [2] report an eight year prospective follow-up study of the adolescent outcome of hyperactive children diagnosed by research criteria. More than 80% of the hyperactive children had ADHD and 60% had either oppositional defiant disorder and/or conduct disorder at outcome. Antisocial acts, cigarette and marijuana use, and negative academic performance were considerably higher among hyperactives than normals. Conduct disorder accounted for many though not all of these adverse outcomes. There was considerably greater risk for family disturbance and negative academic and social outcomes in adolescents than previously reported.

In the pediatric and pediatric neurology examination of children with learning and behavior problems, the Pediatric Evaluation of Educational Readiness test (PEER) can assist in the developmental follow-up of children at risk for learning and behavior disorders. Observations of behavior including attention and activity correlated with test results obtained independently by a psychometrist. [3]