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J Abnorm Psychol. 2002 May;111(2):279-89.

The persistence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder into young adulthood as a function of reporting source and definition of disorder.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester 01655, USA.


This study examined the persistence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) into young adulthood using hyperactive (N = 147) and community control (N = 71) children evaluated at ages 19-25 years. ADHD was rare in both groups (5% vs. 0%) based on self-report but was substantially higher using parent reports (46% vs. 1.4%). Using a developmentally referenced criterion (+2 SD), prevalence remained low for self-reports (12% vs. 10%) but rose further for parent reports (66% vs. 8%). Parent reports were more strongly associated with major life activities than were self-reports. Recollections of childhood ADHD showed moderate correlations with actual parent ratings collected in childd hood, which suggests some validity for such recollections. The authors conclude that previous follow-up studies that relied on self-reports might have substantially underestimated the persistence of ADHD into adulthood.

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