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Childhood and adolescent hyperactivity-inattention symptoms and academic achievement 8 years later: the GAZEL Youth study

  • C. Galéra (a1) (a2), M. Melchior (a3), J.-F. Chastang (a3), M.-P. Bouvard (a1) and E. Fombonne (a4)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 April 2009

Children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at risk of negative academic outcomes. However, relatively few studies in this area have been based on long-term longitudinal designs and community-based settings. This study examined the link between childhood hyperactivity-inattention symptoms (HI-s) and subsequent academic achievement in a community setting, controlling for other behavioural symptoms, socio-economic status (SES) and environmental factors at baseline.


The sample consisted of 1264 subjects (aged 12 to 26 years at follow-up) recruited from the longitudinal GAZEL Youth study. Psychopathology, environmental variables and academic outcomes were measured through self-reports. Multivariate modelling was performed to evaluate the effects of childhood HI-s and other risk factors on academic achievement 8 years later.


HI-s independently predicted grade retention [adjusted odds ratio (OR) 3.58, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.38–5.39], failure to graduate from secondary school (adjusted OR 2.41, 95% CI 1.43–4.05), obtaining a lower-level diploma (adjusted OR 3.00, 95% CI 1.84–4.89), and lower academic performance. These results remained significant even after accounting for school difficulties at baseline. Negative academic outcomes were also significantly associated with childhood symptoms of conduct disorder (CD), even after accounting for adjustment variables.


This longitudinal survey replicates, in a general population-based setting, the finding of a link between HI-s and negative academic outcomes.

Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: Dr C. Galéra, Pôle de pédopsychiatrie universitaire, Centre Hospitalier Charles-Perrens, 121 rue de la Béchade, 33076Bordeaux, France. (Email:
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