Association between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and aggression subscales in adolescents

Hee Jeong Yoo, Ji Min Han, Kitai Kim, Gonjin Song, Jeong Yee, Jee Eun Chung, Kyung Eun Lee, Hye Sun Gwak

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Introduction: The aim of this study is to identify the association between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) proneness and aggressive propensity in adolescents. Methods: A quantitative, large-scale, cross-sectional study was performed from April to May 2016 in Korea. The survey questionnaire included overall health behaviors, as well as scales for assessing ADHD proneness (revised short form of the Conners-Wells Adolescent Self-Report Scale; CASS[S]) and aggressive behavior (Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire; BPAQ) in adolescents. Area under the receiver operator characteristic (AUROC) curves was constructed to determine the cut-off value of total aggression score for discriminating ADHD proneness. Results: A total of 2,432 students participated in the survey, and 1,872 of them completed the questionnaire, indicating a response rate of 77.0%. Based on CASS(S), 33 (1.8%) subjects were classified as the ADHD group. AUROC curve analysis showed that a score of 68.5 points had higher sensitivity (83.3%) and specificity (69.4%) to discriminate ADHD proneness. ADHD proneness was significantly associated with higher aggression subdomain scores (physical, verbal, anger, and hostility). Especially, anger and hostility had a stronger relationship with ADHD proneness than did physical and verbal aggression. A multivariable analysis demonstrated that ADHD proneness was significantly related to body mass index in the top 10% of the study population, alcohol consumption, gastrointestinal trouble, daytime sleepiness, and total aggression score of 68.5 points or higher. Adolescents who had total aggression scores of 68.5 points or higher showed a 9.8-fold (95% confidence interval [CI] 3.3–28.8) higher risk of ADHD compared with those who had scores less than 68.5 points. Conclusions: Our results demonstrated that ADHD proneness was significantly associated with aggression propensity. In particular, anger and hostility were more closely associated with ADHD proneness than were other aggression subdomains.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere02030
JournalBrain and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021

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© 2021 The Authors. Brain and Behavior published by Wiley Periodicals LLC


  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders
  • adolescent
  • aggression
  • anger
  • hostility


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