Association between Polygenic Risk Scores for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Educational and Cognitive Outcomes in the General Population

Evie Stergiakouli, Joanna Martin, Marian Hamshere, Jon E Heron, Beate St Pourcain, Nicholas Timpson, Anita Thapar, George Davey Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

BACKGROUND Children with a diagnosis of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have lower cognitive ability and are at risk of adverse educational outcomes; ADHD genetic risks have been found to predict childhood cognitive ability and other neurodevelopmental traits in the general population; thus genetic risks might plausibly also contribute to cognitive ability later in development and educational underachievement.

METHODS We generated ADHD polygenic risk scores in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children participants (max N: 6 928 children and 7 280 mothers) based on the results of a discovery clinical sample, a genome-wide association study of 727 cases with ADHD diagnosis and 5 081 controls. We tested if ADHD polygenic risk scores were associated with educational outcomes and IQ in adolescents and their mothers.

RESULTS High ADHD polygenic scores in the adolescents were associated with worse educational outcomes at Key stage 3 (national tests conducted at age 13-14 years; β=-1.4 (-2 to -0.8), p=2.3 x 10-6), at General Certificate of Secondary Education exams at age 15-16 years (β=-4 (-6.1 to -1.9), p=1.8 x 10-4), reduced odds of sitting Key Stage 5 examinations at age 16-18 years (OR=0.9 (0.88 to 0.97), p=0.001) and lower IQ scores at age 15.5 (β=-0.8 (-1.2 to -0.4), p=2.4x10-4). Moreover, maternal ADHD polygenic scores were associated with lower maternal educational achievement (β=-0.09 (-0.1 to -0.06), p=0.005) and lower maternal IQ (β=-0.6 (-1.2 to -0.1), p=0.03).

CONCLUSIONS ADHD diagnosis risk alleles impact on functional outcomes in two generations (mother and child) and likely have trans-generational environmental effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421–428
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Epidemiology
Volume46
Issue number2
Early online date30 Sep 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017

Keywords

  • attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • polygenic risk scores
  • Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC)
  • education
  • cognitive traits

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