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Preschool Predictors of ADHD Symptoms and Impairment During Childhood and Adolescence

Abstract

Purpose of Review

This paper summarizes key, recently published research examining longitudinal outcomes for preschoolers with high levels of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity.

Recent Findings

Symptom trajectories show that hyperactivity/impulsivity declines across childhood. At the group level, the course of inattention appears more variable. However, identification of subgroups of children showing stable, rising, and falling inattention over time is promising. Early ADHD-like symptoms portend risk for academic and social difficulties, as well as comorbid emotional and behavioral problems in childhood and adolescence. Several early risk factors appear to moderate these relations, including comorbid symptoms, parental psychopathology, socioeconomic disadvantage, and perhaps neuropsychological dysfunction. Furthermore, high levels of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity during the preschool period appear to compromise development of regulatory and neuropsychological functions, which in turn increases risk for negative outcomes later in childhood.

Summary

Identified risk factors are targets for novel interventions, which ideally would be delivered early to at-risk children.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (S.O., grant number SC2 HD086868) of the National Institutes of Health. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official view of the National Institutes of Health.

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Correspondence to Sarah O’Neill.

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Conflict of Interest

Sarah O’Neill, Khushmand Rajendran, Shelagh M. Mahbubani, and Jeffrey M. Halperin declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

All reported studies/experiments with human or animal subjects performed by the authors have been previously published and complied with all applicable ethical standards (including Helsinki declaration and its amendments, institutional/national research committee standards, and international/national/institutional guidelines).

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Attention-Deficit Disorder

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O’Neill, S., Rajendran, K., Mahbubani, S.M. et al. Preschool Predictors of ADHD Symptoms and Impairment During Childhood and Adolescence. Curr Psychiatry Rep 19, 95 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-017-0853-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-017-0853-z

Keywords

  • ADHD
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Preschoolers
  • Longitudinal
  • Impairment
  • Development