Objective: Despite the existence of several follow-up studies of children with ADHD followed up into adulthood, there is limited information on whether patterns of persistence and remission in ADHD can be predicted over the long term. The main aim of this study was to evaluate predictors of persistence of ADHD in a large sample of boys with and without ADHD followed prospectively for 11 years into young adulthood.
Method: Subjects were Caucasian, non-Hispanic boys with (N = 110) and without (N = 105) ADHD who were 6-17 years old at the baseline assessment (mean age 11 years) and 15 to 31 years old at the follow-up assessment (mean age 22 years). Subjects were comprehensively and blindly assessed with structured diagnostic interviews and assessments of cognitive, social, school, and family functioning.
Results: At the 11-year follow-up, 78% of children with ADHD continued to have a full (35%) or a partial persistence (subsyndromal (22%), impaired functioning (15%), or remitted but treated (6%)). Predictors of persistence were severe impairment of ADHD, psychiatric comorbidity, and exposure to maternal psychopathology at baseline.
Conclusions: These findings prospectively confirm that persistence of ADHD over the long term is predictable from psychosocial adversity and psychiatric comorbidity ascertained 11 years earlier.
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