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Childhood ADHD associated with functional deficits in young adulthood, findings suggest

Friday, October 26 2007 | Comments
Evidence Grade 0 What's This?
Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder may be more likely than children without ADHD to experience specific functional deficits in young adulthood, data suggest.

The authors of the current analysis noted that recent research has begun to investigate outcomes in ADHD other than those related strictly to education and employment. In their analysis, which evaluated data from the third wave of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, they examined nonsubjective, easily identified outcomes that could reflect persistent functional impairments of ADHD symptomatology. Specifically, they evaluated financial outcomes that might be affected by symptoms of inattention and sexual outcomes that might be affected by novelty-seeking behavior or a lack of inhibition.

The study population included 14,322 young adults (aged >=18 years), including 1,173 with a history of ADHD.

In analyses that controlled for demographic characteristics and psychiatric comorbidities, childhood ADHD was associated with failure to pay the full amount of rent or mortgage payment (OR, 2.3; 99% CI, 1.7-3.3), having the electricity turned off due to lack of payment (OR, 2.3; 99% CI, 1.6-3.3), and the inability to afford necessary health care (OR, 2.03; 99% CI, 1.4-2.7).

In addition, young adults who had ADHD in childhood were more likely to report that they had ever been paid for sex (OR, 2.2; 99% CI, 1.3-3.7) and that they had ever had sex with someone who uses street drugs with a needle (OR, 2.5; 99% CI, 1.4-4.5).

"With increasingly clear evidence, it is necessary that we acknowledge that as children with ADHD mature into young adults, they may continue to exhibit functional deficits that illustrate the need for appropriate support structures to guide them through young adulthood and perhaps beyond," the investigators concluded. (Ball SW, et al. Poster B50.)

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