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Eating Disorders More Likely in Girls with ADHD

Girls with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder-combined type at highest risk

WEDNESDAY, March 19 (HealthDay News) -- Girls with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder-combined type (ADHD-C), who have deficits in both attention and hyperactivity-impulsivity, are more likely than girls with ADHD-inattentive type (ADHD-I) or other girls to develop eating pathologies as adolescents, according to a report in the February issue of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

Amori Yee Mikami, Ph.D., from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., and colleagues examined eating pathology (body image dissatisfaction and bulimia nervosa symptoms) in girls aged 6 to 12 years at baseline over a five-year period. Of these, 93 had ADHD-C, 47 had ADHD-I and 88 were controls.

The researchers found that girls with ADHD-C at baseline had the most eating pathology, followed by those with ADHD-I, then the control group. Predictors of adolescent eating pathology included baseline impulsivity symptoms and baseline peer rejection and parent-child relationship problems. Punitive parenting in childhood was most strongly associated with pathological eating behaviors for girls with ADHD, the authors report.

"We found evidence that girls with ADHD-C in childhood are at risk for self-reported, dimensional bulimia nervosa behaviors and body image dissatisfaction in adolescence, as well as parent-reported bulimia nervosa symptoms, relative to comparison girls," Mikami and colleagues conclude.

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