Personality mediation of genetic effects on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Michelle M. Martel, Molly Nikolas, Katherine Jernigan, Karen Friderici, Joel T. Nigg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Personality traits may be viable candidates for mediators of the relationship between genetic risk and ADHD. Participants were 578 children (331 boys; 320 children with ADHD) between the ages of six and 18. Parents and teachers completed a comprehensive, multistagediagnostic procedure to assess ADHD and comorbid disorders. Mother completed the California Q-Sort to assess child Big Five personality traits. Children provided buccal samples of DNA which were assayed for selected markers on DRD4, DAT1, and ADRA2A. An additive genetic risk composite was associated with ADHD symptoms and maladaptive personality traits; maladaptive personality traits were associated with ADHD symptoms. Low conscientiousness and high neuroticism partially mediated the relationship between genetic risk and ADHD symptoms. Mediation effects for conscientiousness were specific to inattentive symptoms; effects for neuroticism generalized to all disruptive behaviors. High neuroticism and low conscientiousness may be useful as early markers for children at risk for ADHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)633-643
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by NIH National Institute of Mental Health Grant R01-MH63146, MH59105, and MH70542 to Karen Friderici and Joel Nigg. We are indebted to the families and staff who made this study possible.


  • ADHD
  • Disruptive behaviors
  • Genetics
  • Personality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Personality mediation of genetic effects on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this