Long-Term Consequences of Childhood ADHD on Early Adult Outcomes

Jason Fletcher, Yale University
Barbara Wolfe, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Even though ADHD is one of the most prevalent mental conditions in school-age children, little is known about the long-term consequences of the illness for individuals and society. This paper uses retrospective ratings of ADHD symptoms in childhood to examine risky behaviors in early adulthood, controlling for a rich set of individual, family, and community level variables. This paper separately examines the effects of the different dimensions of ADHD symptoms, including inattentive, hyperactive, and combined typologies. The results show that both inattentive and hyperactive symptoms increase the likelihood of reporting many types of risky behaviors, in many cases the increases are substantial: However there is little evidence that individuals with symptoms of the combined type of ADHD face a multiplicative risk. Overall, the findings of this paper indicate that ADHD imposes significant long-term costs on both individuals and society and is an important area for future academic and clinical research.

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Presented in Session 79: Effects of Health on Development of Human Capital I