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Evidence suggests that attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or hyperkinetic disorder (HKD) may reduce quality of life in children, adolescents and adults.1-5

An Australian study compared caregiver-completed measures of family quality of life as measured by The Child Health Questionnaire-Parent version (CHQ-PF50) between families of children with (n=30) or without ADHD (n=156). Parents of children with ADHD reported poorer family quality of life in multiple domains, through impact of the child’s behaviour on parental emotions, time and family activities compared with parents of children without ADHD (Figure).1

Assessment of family quality of life in a study comparing Australian families with and without a child with ADHD. Reproduced with kind permission.1

Assessment of quality of life and parental psychopathology in a study comparing Australian families with and without a child with ADHD

Impact on quality of life may persist into adulthood

There is currently limited research into the impact that ADHD has on quality of life in adults in ADHD. In the European Lifetime Impairment Survey* (sponsored by Shire), adults with ADHD reported that their childhood experiences had a negative impact on their successes in later life (Figure).2

The effect of recalled childhood and adolescent experiences on everyday life, as reported by adults with and without ADHD in the European Lifetime Impairment Survey. Reproduced with kind permission.6

The effect of recalled childhood and adolescent experiences on everyday life, as reported by adults with and without ADHD

Preliminary evidence from several small studies is also indicative of impaired quality of life in adults with ADHD.3-5

  • In an Icelandic study of 369 university students (aged 18–53 years), a negative relationship was found between global life satisfaction, ADHD symptoms and associated problems, such as emotional and social function4
  • In addition, in a small US study of 33 medical students (age not reported) with ADHD, ADHD-related quality of life and life productivity were found to negatively correlate with the severity of ADHD symptoms5
  • Finally, in a small US study of college students with ADHD (n=37; mean age 24.3 years), ADHD was associated with lower quality of life compared with control students with no history of ADHD (n=59; mean age 27.6 years).3

 

*This survey was an online, cross-sectional, opinion-based survey conducted in adults and designed to assess experiences of ADHD in childhood and adulthood (e.g. impact on work, social life and relationships), and experiences of impairment and general well-being in childhood/adolescence. It was conducted in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK2

  1. Cussen A, Sciberras E, Ukoumunne OC, et al. Relationship between symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and family functioning: a community-based study. Eur J Pediatr 2012; 171: 271-280.
  2. Caci H, Doepfner M, Asherson P, et al. Daily life impairments associated with self-reported childhood/adolescent attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and experiences of diagnosis and treatment: results from the European Lifetime Impairment Survey. Eur Psychiatry 2014; 29: 316-323.
  3. Grenwald-Mayes G. Relationship between current quality of life and family of origin dynamics for college students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. J Atten Disord 2002; 5: 211-222.
  4. Gudjonsson GH, Sigurdsson JF, Eyjolfsdottir GA, et al. The relationship between satisfaction with life, ADHD symptoms, and associated problems among university students. J Atten Disord 2009; 12: 507-515.
  5. O’Callaghan P, Sharma D. Severity of symptoms and quality of life in medical students with ADHD. J Atten Disord 2014; 18: 654-658.
  6. Caci H, Asherson P, Donfrancesco R, et al. Daily life impairments associated with childhood/adolescent attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder as recalled by adults: results from the European Lifetime Impairment Survey. CNS Spectr 2015; 20: 112-121.

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