Inattentiveness Affects Later Academic Performance of Children With ADHD

Alison Rodriguez

Children with or without attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), who demonstrate inattentiveness during childhood are associated with a worse academic performance up to 10 years later in life, according to research.

Typically, academic success is linked to future career and monetary success. Attentiveness, as well as intellectual ability, are 2 factors that often contribute to a higher academic performance. Helping children strengthen these areas will assist in guiding them to be successful in their future, wrote researchers. Inattentiveness often makes it more challenging for children to focus in school and on homework; however, it also can be linked to mood disorders, and difficulties socializing with peers. 

"A high number of children are challenged by problems related to inattention. A cluster of these problems is defined as hallmark symptoms of ADHD, but inattentiveness is not restricted to children with a specific diagnosis," Astri Lundervold, a researcher at the University of Bergen said in a statement.

Lundervold collaborated with researchers in America to collect a diverse sample of healthy children in order to assess the connection between inattentiveness and academic performance. They expanded the study to include a subgroup that had already been diagnosed with ADHD.

Following an IQ score assessment and a parent rating of the child’s inattentiveness, the researchers followed up 10 years later to investigate their school performance. During the follow-up, the researchers found that those with higher IQ scores tended to perform better and those with ADHD performed worse in school with higher rates of inattentiveness. However, the study noted that the negative effects of inattention were present only among those with ADHD.

 "We found a surprisingly similar effect of early inattention on high school academic achievement across the 2 samples, an effect that remained even when we adjusted for intellectual ability," explained Lundervold.

Ultimately, the researchers found that there are negative long-term effects of inattention among children with or without ADHD. Regardless of their IQ or mental health, children will need their parent’s help to reach academic success, the study noted.

"Parents of primary school children showing signs of inattention should ask for help for the child. Remedial strategies and training programs for these children should be available at school, and not just for children with a specific diagnosis," concluded Lundervold. "Parents and teachers could also benefit from training to help address the needs of inattentive children."
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