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Child neurodevelopmental and behavioural problems are intercorrelated and dimensionally distributed in the general population

Journal article
Authors Henrik Anckarsäter
Tomas Larson
Sara Lina Hansson
Eva Carlström
Ola Ståhlberg
I Carina Gillberg
Maria Råstam
Christopher Gillberg
Paul Lichtenstein
Published in The Open Psychiatry Journal
Volume 2
Pages 5-11
ISSN 1874-3544
Publication year 2008
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Pages 5-11
Language en
Keywords Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Autism spectrum, Tics, Comorbidity, Prevalence.
Subject categories Child and adolescent psychiatry


The Autism – Tics, AD/HD, and other Comorbidities inventory (A-TAC) is a comprehensive interview for evaluating problems related to autism spectrum disorders (ASD), tic disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), and common comorbid conditions in children and adolescents. A-TAC telephone interviews were administered to parents of 2,957 children aged nine- or twelve-years, representing one in each twin pair included in the population- based Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden (CATSS). A total of 16.4% were screen-positive for one or several of the targeted disorder, 1.3% for ASD and 5.6% for AD/HD. All types of problems were more common among boys, with the exception of those related to “eating habits”. They were all dimensionally/continuously distributed, highly inter-correlated, and overlapped across types. They aggregated in three ba- sic factors corresponding to externalizing/disruptiveness, socio-communicative problems, and compulsiveness. Population-based data on problems in children thus challenge current categorical diagnostic definitions, calling for dimen- sional and complementary models of problem descriptions.

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