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Educational and occupational outcome of hyperactive boys grown up.

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  • 1Child and Adolescent Behavior Center, Long Island Jervish Medical Center, New Hyde Park, NY, USA.



Little is known about the adult outcome of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a very prevalent childhood disorder that is known to affect deleteriously academic performance and other areas of child functioning. This study represents a third wave of evaluations that examine the long-term educational achievement and occupational rank of children with ADHD.


This is a prospective follow-up of white boys of average intelligence whose ADHD was clinically diagnosed according to systematic criteria at an average age of 7 years. Follow-up intervals range from 15 to 21 years (mean, 17 years). At average age 24 years, 85 probands (representing 82% of the childhood cohort) and 73 controls (84%) were directly interviewed by trained clinicians who were blind to group membership.


First, probands completed significantly less formal schooling than controls (about 2 years less, on average). Second, probands had lower-ranking occupational positions than controls. Finally, these disadvantages were not accounted for by adult mental status.


The present study suggests that childhood ADHD predisposes to specific disadvantages and continues to affect important functional domains unrelated to current psychiatric diagnosis.

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