Comorbidity of ADHD and allergic diseases in early adolescence: The role of parental smoking at home

Rosa Sze Man WONG, Keith T. S. TUNG, Hugo E. LEUNG, Reena CHOW, Gilbert T. CHUA, Macro H. K. HO, Winnie W. Y. TSO, Genevieve P. G. FUNG, Victoria Q. C. TAO, Mike Y. W. KWAN, Terry Y. S. LUM, Ian C. K. WONG, Patrick IP

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A growing body of research suggests an association between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and allergic disorders, but little work has been done to explore the role of external factors such as parental smoking at home in the development of comorbid ADHD and allergic disorders. This study aimed to examine the association between allergic diseases and ADHD adjusted for exposure to parental smoking at home in early adolescents. We recruited 250 male (41.7%) and 350 female (58.3%) adolescents (mean [SD] age, 13.29 [0.52] years) via chain-referral sampling. Their ADHD symptoms were assessed by the parent proxy-report version of the Chinese Strengths and Weaknesses of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity-symptoms and Normal-behaviours (SWAN) rating scale. Data on the participants’ history of clinician-diagnosed allergic diseases, family socio-demographics, and parental smoking habit were collected using a parent-completed questionnaire. Regression analyses were performed to examine the associations of interest. The levels of ADHD symptoms were comparable between allergic and non-allergic participants after controlling for child and family demographics and parental smoking at home. Notably, the risk of probable ADHD was particularly high in participants with food allergies (odd ratio = 4.51, p = 0.011) but not in those with allergic rhinitis after adjusting for parental smoking at home. Our findings suggest that second-hand smoke exposure at home is a potential risk factor underlying the link between ADHD and allergic diseases. Current management guidelines should emphasize the importance of early identification and cessation of tobacco smoke exposure for prevention of comorbidity of ADHD and allergic disorders. 

Clinical Trial Registration (if any): NA. Copyright © 2022 The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12630-12638
JournalCurrent Psychology
Early online dateJan 2022
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


Wong, R. S., Tung, K. T. S., Leung, H. E., Chow, R., Chua, G. T., Ho, M. H. K., Tso, W. W. Y., Fung, G. P. G., Tao, V. Q. C., Kwan, M. Y. W., Lum, T. Y. S., Wong, I. C. K., & Ip, P. (2023). Comorbidity of ADHD and allergic diseases in early adolescence: The role of parental smoking at home. Current Psychology, 42, 12630-12638.


  • Allergic disease
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Comorbidity
  • Second-hand smoke exposure
  • Environmental allergen


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