Researchers in the United States have discovered that the connection between Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and suicidal ideation is due to stress, “and this effect was strongest at high levels of stress-reactive rumination.”

Moreover, the conclusions did not change after controlling for depressive symptoms, according to principal investigator of the study, Dr. Carlos Y. Yeguez of the Department of Psychology at Florida International University in Miami.

Entitled “Stress Accounts for the Association Between ADHD Symptoms and Suicide Ideation When Stress-Reactive Rumination is High,” the study was published by the team online March 31, 2018 and then in print on pp 1-7 in the journal, Cognitive Therapy and Research.

Yeguez examined a sample of 432 “emerging adults,” most of whom were Hispanic females (approximately 70 percent), with a mean age of 19.73 years old. Yeguez, co-researcher Dr. Ryan M. Hill of the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, Florida International University team members Victor Buitron and Jeremy W. Pettit analyzed demographic and clinical information collected via self-reported rating scales, including ADHD symptom, stress, stress-reactive rumination and depressive symptoms.

The researchers found that ADHD symptoms were significantly and positively associated with stress, stress-reactive rumination and suicide ideation.

“As hypothesized, the association between ADHD symptoms and suicide ideation was accounted for by stress, and this effect was strongest at high levels of stress-reactive rumination. Conclusions did not change after controlling for depressive symptoms,” the researchers wrote.

“These findings shed light on one explanation of the elevated levels of suicide ideation seen in emerging adults with elevated ADHD symptoms: heightened levels of stressful events and a tendency to respond to stress by ruminating,” they added.

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