Assessment of age-at-onset criterion for adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

Lucy Riglin, Rachel Blakey, Kate Langley, Ajay Thapar, Sharifah Shameem Agha, George Davey Smith, Evangelia Stergiakouli , Anita Thapar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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To investigate the accuracy of the age-at-onset criterion in those who meet other DSM-5 ADHD criteria (N=138), using a prospective population cohort, we compared four different approaches to asking those at age 25 years when their symptoms started. Receiver Operating Characteristic curves showed variation between the approaches (χ(3)=8.99, p=0.03); all four showed low discrimination against symptoms that had been assessed when they were children (area under the curve 0.57-0.68). Asking adults to recall specific symptoms may be preferable to recalling at what age symptoms started. However limitations to retrospective recall add to debate on the validity of ADHD age-at-onset assessment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Early online date21 Sep 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Sep 2021


  • ADHD
  • adult
  • age-at-onset
  • retrospective


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