Attentional deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults is associated with borderline personality characteristics or cluster B (emotional instability), but in certain populations, such as medical students, it might be associated with cluster C traits (perfectionism, dependency, anxiety). This may be compensatory to ADHD.
To analyze the association between ADHD and cluster C personality traits in medical students.
Biodemographic characteristics, the presence of ADHD and personality traits according to clusters A, B and C were evaluated in medical students. These characteristics were compared between students with unlikely diagnosis of ADHD (Group 1) and likely or very likely diagnosis of ADHD (Group 2).
We included 336 participants (44% women). A likely or very likely diagnosis of ADHD was present in 64% (Group 2). Concerning personality traits, 45% exhibited traits of cluster A, 57% of cluster B, and 67% of cluster C. Compared to their counterparts of Group 1, participants in Group 2 were more likely to have a history of psychiatric/psychological care, previous diagnosis of ADHD and traits of cluster B (37 and 68% respectively) and C (55 and 74% respectively). The odds ratio of having A, B or C traits when a likely or very likely ADHD was present, were 1.29 95% confidence interval (CI) [0.8-2.07], 3.79 95% CI [2.3-6.22] and 2.4 95% CI [1.46-3.96], respectively.
Cluster C personality traits were frequent among medical students and were significantly associated with ADHD.