Despite the importance of understanding the long-term outcome of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the available literature is predominantly based on male samples. This study estimated the lifetime burden of comorbid psychopathology in a large sample of girls with and without ADHD followed up over five years.
We conducted a blind, five-year prospective longitudinal study of girls with (n=140) and without (n=122) ADHD, aged 6–18 years at baseline, consecutively ascertained from either community pediatricians or psychiatrists at an academic medical center. At the five-year follow-up, 123 (88%) and 112 (92%) of the ADHD and control children, respectively, were re-assessed at a mean age of 16.7 years. Psychiatric disorders were assessed using blinded structured diagnostic interviews.
At follow-up, females with ADHD were at significantly higher risk than controls to manifest disruptive behavior, mood and anxiety disorders, and substance dependence. The magnitude of increased risk was greatest for major depression and oppositional-defiant disorder, followed by substance dependence and anxiety disorders.
These prospective follow-up findings documenting high morbidity associated with ADHD extend to females previously reported findings in male samples and underscore the importance of early recognition and intervention efforts for youth with ADHD of both genders.
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Published online: May 24, 2006
Accepted: February 23, 2006
Received in revised form: February 21, 2006
Received: September 27, 2005
© 2006 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.