Executive functions in girls with ADHD followed prospectively into young adulthood

Meghan Miller, Jennifer Ho, Stephen P. Hinshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Objective: We prospectively followed an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse sample of girls with ADHD (n = 140) and a matched comparison group (n = 88) into young adulthood (Mage = 19.6), 10 years after childhood initial assessments, to evaluate neuropsychological functioning. We hypothesized that neuropsychological deficits would persist through young adulthood for those with ADHD, and that those with continuing ADHD symptomatology in young adulthood would show the largest impairments. Method: Neuropsychological measures at follow-up emphasized executive functions (EF) including planning, organization, inhibitory control, sustained attention, working memory, and set shifting. Results: Parallel to findings from childhood and adolescence, the girls with childhood-diagnosed ADHD displayed medium to large deficits in EF relative to comparisons at follow-up, even with statistical control of baseline demographic and comorbidity variables. The addition of IQ as a covariate attenuated differences but several remained significant. Comparisons between the inattentive and combined subtypes of ADHD yielded nonsignificant results with small effect sizes. EF impairments were evident in both participants whose ADHD diagnoses persisted and in those whose ADHD symptoms had remitted to a nondiagnosable level; both subgroups had more EF deficits than those who did not meet criteria for ADHD in either childhood or young adulthood. Conclusions: Those in both the persistent and remitted ADHD groups showed impairments in EF relative to comparisons and generally did not differ from each other. Overall, childhood ADHD in girls portends neuropsychological/EF deficits that persist for at least 10 years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-287
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012


  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Executive function
  • Females
  • Girls
  • Longitudinal research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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