Natural outcome of ADHD with developmental coordination disorder at age 22 years: a controlled, longitudinal, community-based study

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2000 Nov;39(11):1424-31. doi: 10.1097/00004583-200011000-00017.


Objective: There is a need for controlled longitudinal studies in the field of attention disorders in the general population.

Method: In a community-based follow-up study, 55 of 61 subjects aged 22 years, who had attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with and without comorbid developmental coordination disorder (DCD) at initial workup at age 7 years, were compared, on a multitude of outcome variables, with 46 of 51 age-matched subjects without such diagnoses. None of the subjects had received stimulant treatment. Psychiatrists performing the follow-up study were blind to original diagnostic group status.

Results: In the ADHD/DCD group 58% had a poor outcome compared with 13% in the comparison group (p < .001). Remaining symptoms of ADHD, antisocial personality disorder, alcohol abuse, criminal offending, reading disorders, and low educational level were overrepresented in the ADHD/DCD groups. The combination of ADHD and DCD appeared to carry a particularly gloomy outlook.

Conclusions: Childhood ADHD and DCD appears to be a most important predictor of poor psychosocial functioning in early adulthood. It would seem appropriate to screen for such disorders in schools and clinics so that therapies may be started early.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Age Factors
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / complications*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Motor Skills Disorders / complications*
  • Motor Skills Disorders / epidemiology
  • Motor Skills Disorders / psychology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Prognosis
  • Sex Distribution
  • Social Problems*
  • Sweden / epidemiology