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Clinical and functional outcomes worse in adults diagnosed with ADHD as children

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Question: What is effect of childhood attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) on adult clinical and functional outcomes?

Population: Probands: 207 boys (mean age 8 years; range 6–12 years) referred to the medical centre by teachers due to behavioural problems. Only children with hyperactive/impulsive disorder were included; children with aggressive or antisocial behaviour were excluded. Comparators: When probands were aged 18 years (average), men also aged 18 who had attended the medical centre for non-psychiatric reasons between the ages of 6 and 12 were identified. In total, 178 met the inclusion criteria of no symptoms due to behaviour from primary school teachers (parent report).

Setting: Medical centre, New York; proband recruitment 1970–1978.

Prognostic factors: Diagnosis of ADHD in childhood. Clinical notes were examined and a subsequent confirmatory diagnosis of ADHD was made by comparing with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) criteria.

Outcomes: Assessed at age 41: educational attainment (number of years and highest qualification); employment history; occupational adjustment (Hollingshead & Redlich classification scale) and function (rated 1 (superior) to 6 (poor)); marital history (divorce); social …

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  • Sources of funding: National Institute of Mental Health and National Institute on Drug Abuse.


  • Competing interests None.