Objective: To compare the long-term self-esteem and social function outcomes of individuals with untreated and treated ADHD across childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.
Method: A systematic search of 12 databases was performed to identify peer-reviewed, primary research articles, published January 1980 to December 2011, reporting long-term self-esteem and/or social function outcomes (≥2 years; life consequences distinct from symptoms) of individuals with untreated or treated ADHD.
Results: Overall, 127 studies reported 150 outcomes. Most outcomes were poorer in individuals with untreated ADHD versus non-ADHD controls (57% [13/23] for self-esteem; 73% [52/71] for social function). A beneficial response to treatment (pharmacological, nonpharmacological, and multimodal treatments) was reported for the majority of self-esteem (89% [8/9]) and social function (77% [17/22]) outcomes.
Conclusion: Untreated ADHD was associated with poorer long-term self-esteem and social function outcomes compared with non-ADHD controls. Treatment for ADHD was associated with improvement in outcomes; however, further long-term outcome studies are needed.
Keywords: ADHD; long-term outcomes; self-esteem; social functioning; treatment.
© The Author(s) 2013.