Antecedents of ADHD: a historical account of diagnostic concepts

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12402-010-0051-x

Cite this article as:
Taylor, E. ADHD Atten Def Hyp Disord (2011) 3: 69. doi:10.1007/s12402-010-0051-x


The concept of ADHD has evolved gradually and still carries some traces of its origins. The idea of uncontrolled behaviour as a medical problem arose in eighteenth and nineteenth century accounts. It raised cultural issues about how far control was expected of children. This article traces the development of ideas with particular references to Hoffman’s “Struwwelpeter”, Frederick Still’s “Disorders of Moral Control”, minimal brain damage, and the hyperkinetic syndrome.


ADHD History Concept Minimal brain damage Struwwelpeter 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Emeritus Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Institute of PsychiatryKing’s College LondonLondonUK

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