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Original Research

A 4-Year Follow-Up of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in a Population Sample

Michel Lecendreux, MD; Eric Konofal, MD, PhD; Samuele Cortese, MD, PhD; and Stephen V. Faraone, PhD

Published: June 24, 2015

Article Abstract

Background: Prior follow-up studies of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) ascertained ADHD cases in clinical samples mostly from North America but rarely from European countries. They have provided a good deal of information about the persistence of ADHD and its impairments, but the degree to which these results generalize to population samples and to other countries is not certain. Prior studies have also not assessed predictors of new-onset ADHD in youth without ADHD.

Method: At baseline, 7,912 of 18 million telephone numbers were randomly selected from throughout France from October 2, 2008, through December 11, 2008. Among 4,186 eligible families, 1,012 (24.2%) were successfully recruited at baseline, when a telephone interview was administered to all families about a child in the 6- to 12-year age range. Four years later, we attempted to recruit the entire sample to assess the persistence of ADHD and its impairments and the emergence of new associated conditions.

Results: 86.5% of the families assessed at baseline were followed-up (N = 875). Participants who were and were not interviewed at follow-up did not differ on any clinical or demographic features. At follow-up, the prevalence of full or subthreshold ADHD was 65.8% for ADHD participants and 9.8% for those not having ADHD at baseline. Among the children who were not diagnosed with ADHD at baseline, 3.4% were diagnosed with ADHD at follow-up. Both the persistence of ADHD and new onsets of ADHD were significantly predicted by several baseline clinical features and by having a family history of ADHD (all P values < .05).

Conclusions: We replicated prior predictors of ADHD’s persistence and provide new data about predictors of new ADHD onsets in the population. Our data about subthreshold ADHD support a dimensional conceptualization of the disorder and address the potential clinical utility of a subthreshold diagnostic category.

Volume: 76

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