Language-based cognitive functioning in parents of offspring with ADHD comorbid for Tourette syndrome or learning disabilities

M. Beth Casey, Merav Cohen, Linda J. Schuerholz, Harvey S. Singer, Martha B. Denckla

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9 Scopus citations


The parents of children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were examined for characteristics symptomatic of 2 comorbidities (Co) within their offspring with ADHD: Tourette syndrome (TS) and language-based learning disabilities (LD). A 2 x 2 multivariate analysis of variance design was used; the parents were divided according to whether the offspring with ADHD had TS (Co-TS) or not (No COTS) and whether offspring had LD (Co-LD) or not (No Co-LD). Parents (86 mothers and 70 fathers) were administered the short form of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised (WAIS-R; Wechsler, 1981), subtests of the Woodcock-Johnson Cognitive and Achievement Batteries (Woodcock and Johnson, 1989), and word fluency (semantic and letter; Benton and Hamsher, 1989; Wiig and Semel, 1987). The fathers of offspring with Co-TS were more likely to be diagnosed with LD and had lower WAIS-R Vocabulary, Arithmetic, and Picture Arrangement scores. In addition, when the WAIS-R full scale IQ was used as a covariate, these fathers had lower Woodcock-Johnson Oral Vocabulary, Spelling, and Reading scores (as measured by Letter-Word Identification). The mothers of children with Co-TS had lower WAIS-R Vocabulary scores. Parents of the children with No Co-TS showed a higher proportion of error patterns on the word fluency tasks involving repetitions and role breaks. The findings show that it was the parents of the children with Co-TS, not the parents of the children with Co-LD, who showed language-based learning problems. In separate discriminant analyses for the fathers and mothers, when the aforementioned significant parental measures were used as predictors, 81% of offspring with Co-TS were correctly classified as having a diagnosis of TS, solely on the basis of characteristics in their parents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-110
Number of pages26
JournalDevelopmental Neuropsychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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