OBJECTIVE: There is a need for controlled longitudinal studies in the field of attention disorders in the general population. METHOD: In a community-based follow-up study, 55 of 61 subjects aged 22 years, who had attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with and without comorbid developmental coordination disorder (DCD) at initial workup at age 7 years, were compared, on a multitude of outcome variables, with 46 of 51 age-matched subjects without such diagnoses. None of the subjects had received stimulant treatment. Psychiatrists performing the follow-up study were blind to original diagnostic group status. RESULTS: In the ADHD/DCD group 58% had a poor outcome compared with 13% in the comparison group (p < .001). Remaining symptoms of ADHD, antisocial personality disorder, alcohol abuse, criminal offending, reading disorders, and low educational level were overrepresented in the ADHD/DCD groups. The combination of ADHD and DCD appeared to carry a particularly gloomy outlook. CONCLUSIONS: Childhood ADHD and DCD appears to be a most important predictor of poor psychosocial functioning in early adulthood. It would seem appropriate to screen for such disorders in schools and clinics so that therapies may be started early.
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