We studied the associations between polygenic risk score (PRS) for attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and (1) ADHD symptoms in 5-year-old children, (2) sleep duration throughout childhood, and (3) the interaction between PRS for ADHD and short sleep duration relative to ADHD symptoms at 5 years.
This study is based on the population-based CHILD-SLEEP birth cohort (N = 1420 children). PRS was used to quantitate the genetic risk for ADHD. Parent-reported ADHD symptoms at 5 years were obtained from 714 children, using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and the Five-to-Fifteen (FTF). Our primary outcomes were SDQ-hyperactivity and FTF-ADHD total scores. Parent-reported sleep duration was measured at 3, 8, 18, 24 months, and 5 years in the whole sample and actigraphy-based sleep duration at 2 and 24 months in a subsample.
PRS for ADHD associated with SDQ-hyperactivity (β = 0.214, p = .012) and FTF-ADHD total (β = 0.639, p = .011), and FTF-inattention and hyperactivity subscale scores (β = 0.315, p = .017 and β = 0.324, p = .030), but not with sleep duration at any time point. Significant interactions were found between high PRS for ADHD and parent-reported short sleep throughout childhood in FTF-ADHD total score (F = 4.28, p = .039) and FTF-inattention subscale (F = 4.66, p = .031). We did not find any significant interaction between high PRS for ADHD and actigraphy-based short sleep.
Parent-reported short sleep moderates the association between genetic risk of ADHD and ADHD symptoms in early childhood in the general population, so that children with short sleep, in combination with high genetic risk for ADHD, could be at highest risk for ADHD symptoms.