ADHD and internalising problems commonly co-occur with up to 50% of children diagnosed with ADHD also suffering from anxiety or depression. However, their developmental relations are currently not well understood. Longitudinal symptom level analyses can provide valuable insights into how difficulties in these areas of psychosocial functioning affect each other. Using Gaussian Graphical Models and Graphical Vector Autoregression Models, this study estimated cross-sectional and longitudinal networks of ADHD and internalising symptoms in 1387 children using parent- and teacher-reported Social Behaviour Questionnaires (SBQ) when children were aged 7, 9 and 11. Cross-sectional and longitudinal networks suggested that ADHD shares reciprocal relations with internalising symptoms through a number of potential bridge symptoms that are primarily connected to anxiety symptoms. High scores on child cannot sit still, is restless, or hyperactive were found to be the strongest bridge symptom acting as an antecedent to higher internalising symptoms whereas child is worried was the strongest antecedent for higher ADHD symptoms. Findings of this study highlight several potential bridge symptoms that may serve as key intervention targets and further emphasise the need for clinicians to assess children presenting with ADHD symptoms for internalising problems and vice versa.
© 2021. The Author(s).