A longitudinal investigation of cognitive functioning and its relationship to symptom severity and academic functioning in treatment seeking youth with ADHD.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Children with ADHD tend to present with poorer cognitive functioning leaving them more vulnerable to a range of negative outcomes. To date, only a handful of longitudinal studies have examined the stability of Wechsler composite scores in children and adolescents with ADHD, and none of them used a more recent version of the Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children (WISC), than the WISC-III.
The present study investigates the cognitive stability and its longitudinal relationship with the severity of the child's ADHD symptoms and school grades.
Cognitive functioning was measured with the fourth editions of the WISC-IV or the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scales (WAIS-IV) at baseline and at a 3-4-year follow-up in children with ADHD (n = 125, mean age = 11.40 years, SD = 3.24) and a Control group of school children (n = 59, mean age = 11.97 years, SD = 2.15). The stability of cognitive functioning and the relationship between cognitive functioning, ADHD and grades were evaluated using linear mixed models and logistic regression.
Full scale IQ, Verbal Comprehension, and Processing Speed declined between baseline and follow-up in the ADHD group. ADHD symptom scores were associated with Working Memory scores. Together, the severity of concurrent ADHD symptoms and lower scores for verbal comprehension at baseline and follow-up were associated with an increased risk of not achieving grades at follow-up in youth with ADHD.
Youth with ADHD often present with cognitive impairments, not improved over time. Together these increase the risk of poorer academic outcomes. Concurrent evaluation of symptom severity, and cognitive functions can add potentially useful information in terms of treatment planning, and school supports to prevent school failure.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology
  • Psychiatry


  • ADHD, Children and Adolescents, Longitudinal study, Neurcognitive functioning, academic outcomes
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021 Mar 25
Publication categoryResearch