There is a scarcity of longitudinal studies of adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) followed until adulthood. We studied the relationship between ADHD in adolescence and impaired general physical health, impaired general mental health, antisocial personality disorder, impaired work performance, and high financial stress in adulthood.


A prospective design incorporated 6 assessments of participants spanning mean ages from 14 to 37 years. Two baseline assessments were taken between ages 14 and 16 years, and 5 outcome assessments were taken at mean age 37 years. Participants were assessed with structured interviews and questionnaires. The participants were from a community sample of individuals initially drawn in 1975 and followed to a mean age of 37 years in 2009.


The adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for ADHD in adolescence as related to internal stress in adulthood were 1.82 (95% CI = 1.01–3.25; P < .05) for impaired general physical health, 2.36 (95% CI = 1.23–4.51; P < .01) for impaired general mental health, and 3.28 (95% CI = 1.51–7.13; P < .01) for antisocial personality disorder. The adjusted odds ratios and 95% CIs for ADHD in adolescence as related to external stress were 2.46 (95% CI = 1.37–4.43; P < .01) for impaired work performance and 3.33 (95% CI = 1.70–6.55; P < .001) for high financial stress.


Clinicians should focus on early diagnosis and treatment of adolescent ADHD because it is a major predictor of an array of physical, mental, work, and financial problems in adulthood.

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