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Attention problems in primary school affect education achievements at high school

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Which childhood behavioural problems predict lower scores on academic tests and diminish educational achievement at age 17 years?


1095 children born between 1983 and 1985. Children were selected randomly from birth records at one urban and one suburban hospital in Detroit. Exclusions: mental retardation, blindness or severe neurological impairment. 823 (75%) were assessed after initial exclusions.


Detroit, USA; time period studied 1983–2000.

Prognostic factors:

Children were initially assessed when they were 6 years old with the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised; Full-scale IQ to measure cognitive ability; and the three subscales from the Teacher Rating Form- namely, attention problems subscale (measuring attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), internalising behaviour composite scale (assessing withdrawn, anxious or depressed behaviour plus somatic complaints), and externalising behaviour composite scale (assessing delinquent and aggressive behaviour). The final assessment was at age 17 years when academic behaviour was assessed with the Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery-Revised. Reading was …

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  • Sources of funding Not stated.


  • Competing interests None

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