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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2010 Oct;122(4):271-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2010.01568.x. Epub 2010 Jun 28.

A systematic review of prospective studies on attention problems and academic achievement.

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  • 1Department of Biological Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.



Our aim was to provide an overview of prospective studies that have addressed the association between attention problems (AP, i.e. symptoms of hyperactivity and inattentiveness) and academic achievement (AA).


We conducted a systematic search in the literature. Normal population studies and clinical studies were included. The methodological quality of each study was evaluated by objective criteria. A best evidence synthesis was used to determine the strengths of the association.


Sixteen studies were included. We found convincing evidence for a negative association between AP and AA. After controlling for intelligence, comorbidity, and socioeconomic status (SES), the association between the hyperactive symptoms of AP and AA was non-significant in two studies.


Children with AP are at risk for lower AA and subsequent adverse outcomes later in life. Interventions in affected children should focus on their behavioural and educational development.

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