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Childhood Symptoms of ADHD Overrule Comorbidity in Relation to Psychosocial Outcome at Age 15: A Longitudinal Study

Journal article
Authors Eva Norén Selinus
Yasmina Molero
Paul Lichtenstein
Tomas Larson
Sebastian Lundström
Henrik Anckarsäter
Clara Hellner Gumpert
Published in PLoS ONE
Volume 10
Issue 9
Pages e0137475
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication year 2015
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre
Centre for Ethics, Law, and Mental Health
Pages e0137475
Language en
Keywords ADHD Schools Behavior Children Health screening Oppositional defiant disorder Twins Violent crime
Subject categories Child and adolescent psychiatry, Clinical Medicine


Objective Neurodevelopmental problems (NDPs) may influence the transition from childhood to adolescence. Our aim was to study long-term psychosocial outcomes of NDPs, focusing on ADHD. Method Data was collected through a telephone interview with parents of twins at ages 9 or 12 years. NDP screen-positive children were clinically assessed at age 15; N = 450. Psychosocial outcome concerning peers, school, internalizing problems, antisocial behavior, alcohol misuse, drug misuse, and impaired daily functioning was examined. Results Even after controlling for other NDP comorbidity, screen-positivity for ADHD doubled or tripled the odds of later psychosocial problems. When controlling for parental education level, the significant effect of ADHD remained only for antisocial behavior and impaired daily functioning. Conclusions Signs of NDPs as well as other psychiatric diagnoses at ages 9 or 12 years are associated with a more problematic adolescence. However, despite the presence of comorbidity, early ADHD symptoms stand out as the most important risk factor for later antisocial development and impaired daily functioning.

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