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Adults with ADHD may experience difficulties in several domains, including educational attainment, occupational status, social relationships, substance abuse, and criminal behavior. However, it is unclear which of these domains commonly co-occur or whether certain subgroups of adults with ADHD experience impairments in certain domains more frequently. The focus of this study was to analyze impairment patterns among adults with ADHD.

Data were taken from the Pittsburgh ADHD Longitudinal Study. All 317 adults studied were 25 years old and had dealt with ADHD symptoms since childhood. The analysis compared rates of substance abuse; including cigarettes, marijuana, and alcohol; criminal behavior; sexual activity; peer impairment; educational attainment, and financial dependence, among other factors. Profiles were compared to a control group that was also analyzed longitudinally.

Several specific profiles were found, including groups with higher rates of drug use and engagement in criminal activity. The impairment patterns were not found to be predictable based on childhood variables. Nearly all young adult ADHD profiles were impaired in peer, educational, and financial domans. The results of this study can be used to better understand and address the challenges faced by adults with ADHD [1].


[1] Merrill, B. M., Molina, B. S. G., Coxe, S., Gnagy, E. M., Altszuler, A. R., Macphee, F. L., Morrow, A. S., Trucco, E. M., & Pelham, W. E. (2019). Functional Outcomes of Young Adults with Childhood ADHD: A Latent Profile Analysis. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 49(2), 215–228. https://doi.org/10.1080/15374416.2018.1547968

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