Risky driving in adolescents and young adults with childhood ADHD

J Pediatr Psychol. 2007 Aug;32(7):745-59. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsm002. Epub 2007 Apr 18.


Objective: To examine risky driving behaviors and negative driving outcomes in a large sample of adolescents and adults diagnosed in childhood with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) compared with demographically similar controls without ADHD.

Methods: 355 adolescents and young adults of the Pittsburgh ADHD Longitudinal Study (PALS) (n = 203 probands; n = 152 controls) were administered the Young Adult Driving Questionnaire. Parent and self-report of current ADHD symptoms and conduct problems were tested as potential mediators of the association between childhood ADHD and negative driving outcomes.

Results: ADHD group differences, of small to medium effect size, were found for number of tickets and accidents, and hyperactivity-impulsivity at follow-up emerged as a significant mediator of this association. Current conduct problems were associated with both risky and alcohol-impaired driving.

Conclusions: Childhood ADHD elevates risk for driving-related problems, especially when symptoms persist. Co-occurring conduct problems capture some of this risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology*
  • Automobile Driving / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Conduct Disorder / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires