, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 311-324

The hyperactive child at adolescence: Cognitive, emotional, and social functioning

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In view of the paucity of detailed followup studies on hyperactive children, the performance of 15 adolescents diagnosed hyperactive 5 years previously was compared to that of a control group of equivalent age, sex, intelligence, and social class. Eleven cognitive tests measuring sustained attention, visual-motor and motor skills, abstraction, and reading ability, as well as three self-assessment tests examining selfesteem, activity level, social functioning, academic status, and career aspirations were administered. The hyperactives performed significantly worse than the controls on the sustained attention, visualmotor, and motor tasks, and on two of the four reading tests. They also gave themselves significantly lower ratings on some of the selfesteem and sociability items. It would appear that the hyperactives at adolescence still have attentional and stimulus-processing difficulties, which affect not only their academic performance but also their social functioning.

This study was supported by a Federal-Provincial Mental Health Grant to Dr. G. Weiss. The authors wish to thank Katherine Levine and Margaret Radigan for their assistance with test preparation and scoring. Thanks are also extended to Ken MacRae for his computer-processing advice, particularly his help with several multivariate and principal components analyses from which the present authors have derived their current theoretical position. Klaus Minde and Nancy Cohen are now at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children, while Elizabeth Hoy is at the Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland.