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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is associated with poorer academic performance

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William J Barbaresi

Correspondence to: William J Barbaresi, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA;



Is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) associated with poorer academic outcomes?


From a large birth cohort for whom school records were available through a contractual agreement with the city, 370 adolescents fulfilling criteria for ADHD (mean age 10.4 years; 75% male), and 740 age and gender matched controls (two for each case) without ADHD or any other psychiatric disorder were selected. Medical records for these participants were available through the Rochester Epidemiology Project. DSM-IV exclusion criteria: severe mental retardation, developmental disorder, schizophrenia or other psychiatric disorder.


Rochester, Minnesota, USA. Participants enrolled in the January 1976 to December 1982 birth cohort.

Prognostic factors:



Reading achievement (percentile rank on the California Achievement Score, measured every 2 years to mean age 13 years), absenteeism (percentage days absent per school …

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  • Source of funding: Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, and McNeil Consumer and Specialty Pharmaceuticals.


  • Competing interests: KS is a member of the NICE Guideline Development Group for ADHD and has received research funding from the UK Department of Health and NHS R&D to examine educational interventions on ADHD for teachers and to follow up an RCT of screening and educational interventions in schools.