Vol. 12, No. 2, 2006 Page 1


A new study reinforces earlier findings that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), once considered a childhood disorder, has damaging effects that last well into early adulthood.

Joseph Biederman and colleagues conducted a 10-year prospective study of more than 100 boys with ADHD, comparing them to controls without the disorder. The researchers identified both ADHD and non-ADHD children from two sources, an academic medical center and a health maintenance organization. When the study began, the children were between the ages of 6 and 18, and each underwent a three-stage diagnostic process to ensure the validity of their ADHD or non-ADHD categorization. The follow-up assessment involved interviews with both the study subjects and their mothers.

Biederman and colleagues report, "This 10-year follow-up found that, by a mean age of 21, ADHD youth were at high risk for markedly elevated lifetime prevalences of antisocial, addictive, mood and anxiety disorders.... These longitudinal results into young adult years confirm and extend our previous follow-up findings by mid-adolescence documenting a wide range of psychopathology among ADHD children grown up."

ADHD subjects had higher levels of psychopathology despite the fact that 93% had received treatment for the disorder at some point during their lives. Of those, 86% had received both medication and counseling, while 6% received medication alone and 1% received counseling alone.

The study supports earlier research by Salvatore Mannuzza and Rachel Klein, whose investigation of the outcomes of adults diagnosed in childhood as hyperactive found that, compared to controls, the ADHD subjects "complete less schooling, hold lower-ranking occupations, and continue to suffer from poor self-esteem and social skills deficits." Mannuzza and Klein also found that significantly more ADHD subjects than controls exhibited antisocial behaviors. Similarly, a 1997 study by Eric Taylor and colleagues (see related article, Crime Times, 1997, Vol. 3, No. 3, Page 1) found that childhood hyperactivity, even when not combined with conduct problems, strongly predicted later violence, social problems, academic underachievement, and defiant and disruptive behaviors.


"Young adult outcome of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a controlled 10-year follow-up study," Joseph Biederman, Michael Monuteaux, Eric Mick, Thomas Spencer, Timothy Wilens, Julie Silva, Lindsey Snyder, and Stephen Faraone, Psychological Medicine, Vol. 36, 2006, 167-79. Address: Joseph Biederman, Massachusetts General Hospital, Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care, YAW- 6A-6900, 32 Fruit Street, Boston, MA 02114.

Related Articles: [2006, Vol. 12] [2006, Vol. 12]

Return to:
[Author Directory] [Front Page] [Issue Index] [Subject Index] [Title Index]