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Review: childhood ADHD does not appear to predict development of bipolar disorder among children of bipolar parents

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Question: Is there an association between childhood attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and development of bipolar disorder among children of parents with confirmed bipolar disorder?

Outcomes: Diagnostic and statistical manual diagnoses. The main outcomes of interest were ADHD and bipolar disorder.


Design: Systematic review.

Data sources: MEDLINE, EMBASE and PsychINFO were searched from 1985. Reference lists of included studies were hand searched.

Study selection and analysis: Published prospective cohort studies. Studies were included if they investigated children of parents with confirmed bipolar disorder and reported rates of psychopathology among the children. Qualitative analysis was performed focusing on ADHD and the association with bipolar disorder among children considered at high risk of developing bipolar disorder.

Main results

Nine studies met inclusion criteria. Of these, two studies (Nurnberger et al and Zahn-Walker et al) were not …

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  • Sources of funding: The Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

  • ▸ The table is published online only. To view please visit the journal online


  • Competing interests GAC currently receives research funding from NIMH, Glaxo Smith Kline, Bristol Myers Squibb, Pfizer and Merck.