Irritability and emotional lability have been shown to be severity and impairment factors in community and clinical sample studies and are frequent comorbid features of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). However, while irritability and emotional lability seem to be closely linked, the differential effect of these two features has received little attention. This study assessed the distinct associations of irritability and emotional lability on symptomatology in children with ADHD. One hundred and eight children diagnosed with ADHD participated in the study. Children were rated by parents on ADHD and comorbid symptomatology with the Conners Rating Scale – Revised. Irritability was the most significant predictive factor of the severity of anxiety and oppositional symptoms. Regarding emotional lability, it was significantly predictive of the severity of hyperactivity symptoms. While emotional lability shares common theoretical characteristics with irritability, each seems to be associated with specific areas. Irritability is a symptom of Oppositional Defiant Disorder, a frequent ADHD comorbidity, and also seems to be related to internalizing disorder (e.g. anxiety). Emotional lability seems to be related to ADHD severity symptoms per se. Both could be clinically informative in the diagnosis of ADHD and its comorbidities.
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