European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 25, Issue 11, pp 1195–1206 | Cite as

Childhood trajectories of inattention-hyperactivity and academic achievement at 12 years

  • Julie SallaEmail author
  • Grégory Michel
  • Jean Baptiste Pingault
  • Eric Lacourse
  • Stéphane Paquin
  • Cédric Galéra
  • Bruno Falissard
  • Michel Boivin
  • Richard E. Tremblay
  • Sylvana M. Côté
Original Contribution


Few prospective studies spanning early childhood to early adolescence have examined separately the contribution of inattention and hyperactivity to academic achievement. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether the developmental trajectories of inattention and hyperactivity symptoms during early and middle childhood are independently associated with academic achievement at age 12 years. The independent associations between inattention and hyperactivity trajectories during early and middle childhood and academic performance at age 12 years were examined in a population-based longitudinal birth cohort (n = 2120). In adjusted analyses, high early childhood inattention trajectories were associated with teacher-rated academic performance in reading, writing and mathematics and with government exam score in writing. High and moderate inattention trajectories during middle childhood predicted lower performance on both teacher-rated academic performance and government exam scores in reading, writing, and mathematics. Hyperactivity was not a consistent predictor of educational outcomes. Childhood inattention symptoms rather than hyperactivity carry risk of poor educational outcomes at age 12 years. Children with high levels of inattention can be identified during the preschool years. Prevention programs supporting the development of attentional capacities and executive functions could help reduce the negative consequences of inattention.


Academic achievement Inattention Hyperactivity Early childhood Middle childhood 



The Québec Institute of Statistics and the staff of the Groupe de Recherche sur l’Inadaptation Psychosociale chez l’Enfant (GRIP) provided data collection and management. Part of the Statistical analyses was conducted by Dr. Liu under the guidance of Dr. Côté.

Funding source

This research was supported by the Quebec’s Ministry of Health; the Quebec’s Health Research Fund (FRQ-S); the Québec’s Culture and Society Research Fund (FRQ-SC); Canada’s Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC); the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR); St-Justine Hospital’s Research Center, and the University of Montréal. Dr Côté is a senior fellow of the Quebec’s Health Research Fund (FRQ-S).

Contributors’ statement

Julie Salla, Dr. Salla carried out all analyses, drafted the manuscript and approved the final manuscript as submitted. Grégory Michel, Dr.Michel designed the analyses, reviewed the manuscript and approved the final manuscript as submitted. Jean Baptiste Pingault, Eric Lacourse, Stéphane Paquin, Cédric Galéra, Bruno Falissard, Drs. Pingault, Lacourse, Paquin, Galéra, Falissard reviewed the manuscript and approved the final manuscript as submitted. Michel Boivin, Dr. Boivin designed the data collection instruments, reviewed the manuscript and approved the final manuscript as submitted. Richard E. Tremblay, Dr. Tremblay conceptualized, designed the study, designed the data collection instruments, reviewed the manuscript and approved the final manuscript as submitted. Sylvana M. Côté, Dr. Côté conceptualized and designed the study, critically reviewed the analyses and the manuscript, and approved the final manuscript as submitted.

Compliance with ethical standards

Financial disclosure

The authors have no financial relationships relevant to this article to disclose.

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Integrity of research

The study has been approved by the appropriate ethics committee and therefore been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie Salla
    • 1
    Email author
  • Grégory Michel
    • 1
  • Jean Baptiste Pingault
    • 2
    • 3
  • Eric Lacourse
    • 4
    • 5
  • Stéphane Paquin
    • 4
    • 5
  • Cédric Galéra
    • 1
  • Bruno Falissard
    • 6
  • Michel Boivin
    • 4
    • 5
    • 7
  • Richard E. Tremblay
    • 4
    • 5
    • 8
  • Sylvana M. Côté
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Épidémiologie et Biostatistique, Faculté de PsychologieCentre de recherche Inserm U1219, Team HealthyBordeauxFrance
  2. 2.Division of Psychology and Language SciencesUniversity College LondonLondonUnited Kingdom
  3. 3.Inserm U 1178ParisFrance
  4. 4.Université de MontréalMontréalCanada
  5. 5.Tomsk State UniversityTomskRussian Federation
  6. 6.U669, Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicaleParisFrance
  7. 7.Université LavalQuébecCanada
  8. 8.School of Public HealthUniversity College DublinBelfieldIreland

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