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Pre-school hyperactivity/attention problems and educational outcomes in adolescence: prospective longitudinal study

  • Elizabeth Washbrook (a1), Carol Propper (a2) and Kapil Sayal (a3)

Abstract

Background

High levels of attentional and hyperactivity problems in school-aged children, even if subthreshold for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), are associated with academic under-achievement. Few large-scale, community-based studies have investigated the relationship between pre-school and adolescence.

Aims

To investigate whether pre-school hyperactivity/inattention and conduct problems are independently associated with academic outcomes at age 16.

Method

Data from the prospective, population-based Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) were used. After adjusting for a broad range of confounder variables, the associations between parent-rated hyperactivity/inattention and conduct problems measured at age 3 and academic outcomes at age 16 (national General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examination results) were investigated (n = 11640).

Results

Both early hyperactivity/inattention and conduct problems had negative effects on academic outcomes. In adjusted analyses, abnormal hyperactivity/inattention scores were associated with reductions of ten GCSE points in boys. Borderline and abnormal conduct problem scores were associated with reductions of 9–10 and 12–15 points respectively.

Conclusions

Pre-school hyperactivity/inattention and conduct problems carry risk of worse academic outcomes at 16.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Kapil Sayal, Division of Psychiatry, University of Nottingham, E Floor, South Block, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK. Email: kapil.sayal@nottingham.ac.uk

Footnotes

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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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Pre-school hyperactivity/attention problems and educational outcomes in adolescence: prospective longitudinal study

  • Elizabeth Washbrook (a1), Carol Propper (a2) and Kapil Sayal (a3)
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