Prenatal testosterone and preschool disruptive behavior disorders

Bethan A. Roberts, Michelle M. Martel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Disruptive Behavior Disorders (DBD), including Oppositional-Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), are fairly common and highly impairing childhood behavior disorders that can be diagnosed as early as preschool. Prenatal exposure to testosterone may be particularly relevant to these early-emerging DBDs that exhibit a sex-biased prevalence rate favoring males. The current study examined associations between preschool DBD symptom domains and prenatal exposure to testosterone measured indirectly via right 2D:4D finger-length ratios. The study sample consisted of 109 preschool-age children between ages 3 and 6 (64% males; 72% with DBD) and their primary caregivers. Primary caregivers completed a semi-structured interview (i.e., Kiddie Disruptive Behavior Disorder Schedule), as well as symptom questionnaires (i.e., Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale, Peer Conflict Scale); teachers and/or daycare providers completed symptom questionnaires and children provided measures of prenatal testosterone exposure, measured indirectly via finger-length ratios (i.e., right 2D:4D). Study results indicated a significant association of high prenatal testosterone (i.e., smaller right 2D:4D) with high hyperactive-impulsive ADHD symptoms in girls but not boys, suggesting that the effect may be driven by, or might only exist in, girls. The present study suggests that prenatal exposure to testosterone may increase risk for early ADHD, particularly hyperactivity-impulsivity, in preschool girls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)962-966
Number of pages5
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Volume55
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2013

Keywords

  • ADHD
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impulsivity
  • Prenatal
  • Preschool children
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (all)

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