Context Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is an etiologically heterogeneous neurodevelopmental condition with long-term negative outcomes. However, the early developmental course of hyperactivity-impulsivity and inattention symptoms and their association with previous environmental risk factors are still poorly understood
Objectives To describe the developmental trajectories of hyperactivity-impulsivity and inattention symptoms and to identify their prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal risk factors.
Design Birth cohort from the general population.
Setting Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development.
Participants The sample consisted of 2057 individuals, followed up from age 5 months to 8 years.
Main Outcome Measures Prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal risk factors assessed at age 5 months were considered predictors of group membership in high hyperactivity-impulsivity and inattention trajectories from age 17 months to 8 years.
Results The frequency of hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms tended to slightly decrease with age, whereas the frequency of inattention symptoms substantially increased up to age 6 years. However, trajectories of hyperactivity-impulsivity and inattention symptoms were significantly associated with each other. Risk factors for high trajectories of both types of symptoms were premature birth (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.93; 95% CI, 1.07-3.50), low birth weight (2.11; 1.12-3.98), prenatal tobacco exposure (1.41; 1.03-1.93), nonintact family (1.85; 1.26-2.70), young maternal age at birth of the target child (1.78; 1.17-2.69), paternal history of antisocial behavior (1.78; 1.28-2.47), and maternal depression (1.35; 1.18-1.54).
Conclusions A large range of early risk factors, including prenatal, perinatal social, and parental psychopathology variables, act independently to heighten the likelihood of having persistently high levels of hyperactivity-impulsivity and inattention symptoms from infancy to middle childhood. Early interventions should be experimented with to provide effective tools for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder prevention.