Objective: To examine the relationship between adrenal androgens and aggression in children with oppositional and antisocial behavior and to compare their levels with those of psychiatric and normal controls. Method: Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) was measured in 24 children with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), 42 psychiatric controls (including 20 children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder [ADHD]), and 30 normal controls. The children's parents filled out the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Results: Children with ODD had higher DHEAS levels than either the psychiatric control or normal control groups; DHEAS levels of the latter groups did not differ. Moreover, it was possible to classify children as having either ODD or ADHD on the basis of their DHEAS levels, whereas this was not the case on the basis of the CBCL data. Conclusions: The results indicate that adrenal androgen functioning is specifically elevated in children with ODD. It is speculated that the mechanism could be a shift in balance of ACTH-β-endorphin functioning in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis due to early stress or genetic factors.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2000|