• Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder;
  • depression;
  • depressive mood;
  • oppositional defiant behavior;
  • subtype

Aim:  The aim of this research was to clarify the development of depression among boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by examining the correlation between depressive mood, oppositional defiant behavior, and age for each ADHD subtype.

Methods:  The Birleson Depression Self-Rating Scale (DSRS) was used to evaluate depressive mood while the Oppositional Defiant Behavior Inventory (ODBI) was used to evaluate oppositional defiant behavior. The 90 subjects were divided into three groups: 22 boys (mean age, 12.4 ± 1.9 years) were placed in the ADHD predominantly inattentive type (ADHD-I) group; 45 boys (mean age, 10.4 ± 2.0 years) were placed in the ADHD combined type (ADHD-C) group; and 23 boys (mean age, 12.7 ± 2.4 years) were placed in the depressive disorder (DD) group. The DD group was included to highlight characteristics of depressive mood among boys with ADHD.

Results:  The DSRS score was significantly higher in the DD group compared to the ADHD-I and ADHD-C groups. The ODBI score was significantly higher in the ADHD-C group compared to the ADHD-I (P = 0.043) and DD (P = 0.013) groups. In the DD group, ODBI was seen to decrease with increasing age. A certain degree of oppositional defiant behavior was seen in each ADHD subtype. The DSRS score correlated with the ODBI score in the ADHD-C group, while the DSRS score correlated with age in the ADHD-I group.

Conclusion:  The characteristics of developing depressive mood in childhood ADHD appeared to differ between subtypes and also differed from depression without ADHD.