Children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are two to three times more likely than children without the disorder to develop serious substance abuse problems in adolescence and adulthood, according to a study by UCLA psychologists and colleagues at the University of South Carolina.
The research by Lee and his colleagues, the first large-scale comprehensive analysis on this issue, is currently available online in the journal Clinical Psychology Review and will appear in a print edition later this year.
Steve S. Lee, a UCLA assistant professor of psychology and lead author of the study stated that this greater risk for children with ADHD applies to boys and girls, it applies across race and ethnicity — the findings were very consistent. The greater risk for developing significant substance problems in adolescence and adulthood applies across substances, including nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and other drugs.
Lee and his colleagues analysed 27 long-term studies that followed approximately 4,100 children with ADHD and 6,800 children without the disorder into adolescence and young adulthood — in some cases for more than 10 years.