Language-based cognitive functioning in parents of offspring with ADHD comorbid for Tourette syndrome or learning disabilities

M. Beth Casey, Merav Cohen, Linda J. Schuerholz, Harvey S. Singer, Martha B. Denckla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The parents of children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were examined for characteristics symptomatic of 2 comorbidities (Co) within their offspring with ADHD: Tourette syndrome (TS) and language-based learning disabilities (LD). A 2 x 2 multivariate analysis of variance design was used; the parents were divided according to whether the offspring with ADHD had TS (Co-TS) or not (No COTS) and whether offspring had LD (Co-LD) or not (No Co-LD). Parents (86 mothers and 70 fathers) were administered the short form of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised (WAIS-R; Wechsler, 1981), subtests of the Woodcock-Johnson Cognitive and Achievement Batteries (Woodcock and Johnson, 1989), and word fluency (semantic and letter; Benton and Hamsher, 1989; Wiig and Semel, 1987). The fathers of offspring with Co-TS were more likely to be diagnosed with LD and had lower WAIS-R Vocabulary, Arithmetic, and Picture Arrangement scores. In addition, when the WAIS-R full scale IQ was used as a covariate, these fathers had lower Woodcock-Johnson Oral Vocabulary, Spelling, and Reading scores (as measured by Letter-Word Identification). The mothers of children with Co-TS had lower WAIS-R Vocabulary scores. Parents of the children with No Co-TS showed a higher proportion of error patterns on the word fluency tasks involving repetitions and role breaks. The findings show that it was the parents of the children with Co-TS, not the parents of the children with Co-LD, who showed language-based learning problems. In separate discriminant analyses for the fathers and mothers, when the aforementioned significant parental measures were used as predictors, 81% of offspring with Co-TS were correctly classified as having a diagnosis of TS, solely on the basis of characteristics in their parents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-110
Number of pages26
JournalDevelopmental Neuropsychology
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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