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Minerva Pediatrics 2021 Oct 14

DOI: 10.23736/S2724-5276.21.06477-6


lingua: Inglese

Stress symptoms and Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): a comparative study between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and typically developing children and adolescents

Martina GIALLONARDO 1, Sara UCCELLA 2, 3 , Fabrizio DE CARLI 4, Lino NOBILI 2, 3, Oliviero BRUNI 1, Elisa DE GRANDIS 3, Maria G. MELEGARI 1, 5

1 Department of Developmental and Social Psychology, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy; 2 Child Neuropsychiatry Unit, IRCCS Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genoa, Italy; 3 Department of Neuroscience, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics and Maternal/Child Sciences (DINOGMI), University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy; 4 Independent researcher (Previously at Institute of Molecular Bioimaging and Physiology, National Research Council) Genoa, Italy; 5 Consortium Humanitas Lumsa University, Rome, Italy


BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) related confinement severely impacted people wellbeing. Many studies focused on general population, although it is reasonable to expect that patients with neurodevelopmental disorders might have been at higher risk. Children/adolescents with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) might be potentially more vulnerable, due to their intolerance to forced restrictions that limit stimulating experiences, to obligation to follow instructions and to acceptation of imposed rules We aimed to compare stress-related behavioral changes of the first COVD-19 related confinement among 6-18 years old ADHD and typically developing subjects.
METHODS: Two parent-proxy online surveys have been employed, shared via social media. Symptoms of acute stress related to the pandemic and a question about family members/households’ COVID-19 positivity have been listed in 8 yes/no items. Chi-squared tests were applied.
RESULTS: Final sample consisted of 1078 typically developing subjects and 979 ADHD. Exaggerated startle response, difficulties in waking-up, angry mood as well as COVID-19 related fears were more prevalent among ADHD vs. typically developing subjects. typically developing subjects showed higher prevalence of research for information about COVID-19 and worries about death.
CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, the COVID-19 experience significantly impacted children and adolescents with ADHD to a great extent, similarly to typically developing subjects. ADHD showed more anxious-phobic responses, while typically developing subjects demonstrate more depressive attitudes. Differences in stress symptoms profiles between ADHD and T typically developing subjects warrant to develop distinct strategies of therapeutic interviews.

KEY WORDS: COVID-19; ADHD; Stress; Maladaptive behaviors

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