OBJECTIVE: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a multifactorial neurodevelopmental disorder, yet the interplay between ADHD polygenic risk scores (PRSs) and other risk factors remains relatively unexplored. The authors investigated associations, confounding, and interactions of ADHD PRS with birth-related, somatic, and psychosocial factors previously associated with ADHD.

METHODS: Participants included a random general population sample (N=21,578) and individuals diagnosed with ADHD (N=13,697) from the genotyped Danish iPSYCH2012 case cohort, born between 1981 and 2005. The authors derived ADHD PRSs and identified 24 factors previously associated with ADHD using national registers. Logistic regression was used to estimate associations of ADHD PRS with each risk factor in the general population. Cox models were used to evaluate confounding of risk factor associations with ADHD diagnosis by ADHD PRS and parental psychiatric history, and interactions between ADHD PRS and each risk factor.

RESULTS: ADHD PRS was associated with 12 of 24 risk factors (odds ratio range, 1.03-1.30), namely, small gestational age, infections, traumatic brain injury, and most psychosocial risk factors. Nineteen risk factors were associated with ADHD diagnosis (odds ratio range, 1.20-3.68), and adjusting for ADHD PRS and parental psychiatric history led to only minor attenuations. Only the interaction between ADHD PRS and maternal autoimmune disease survived correction for multiple testing.

CONCLUSIONS: Higher ADHD PRS in the general population is associated with small increases in risk for certain birth-related and somatic ADHD risk factors, and broadly to psychosocial adversity. Evidence of gene-environment interaction was limited, as was confounding by ADHD PRS and family psychiatric history on ADHD risk factor associations. This suggests that the majority of the investigated ADHD risk factors act largely independently of current ADHD PRS to increase risk of ADHD.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe American Journal of Psychiatry (Spanish Edition)
Pages (from-to)73-88
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Environmental Risk Factors
  • Genetics/Genomics
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders


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