Principal Investigator: Brooke Molina, PhD
Funding Source: National Institute of Mental Health
The Preschool Study was a 15-year study of the diagnostic criteria for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Designed by original investigators Lahey and Pelham, the study began in 1995 with 140 four to six year olds in Pittsburgh, PA and another 120 four to six year olds in Chicago, IL. Approximately half of the children had been diagnosed with ADHD or were suspected of having the disorder.
The original purpose of the study was to determine if ADHD could be accurately diagnosed at an age when it is "normal" for children to be hyperactive, inattentive, and impulsive. We also wanted to see if the ADHD subtype diagnoses - Inattentive Subtype, Hyperactive-Impulsive Subtype, and Combined Subtype - are stable over time. In other words, would children continue to receive the same diagnosis year after year and would children who were originally diagnosed at this young age continue to meet diagnostic criteria for ADHD as they aged? As with our other longitudinal studies, this study also sought to learn more about the types of difficulties that are associated with ADHD and how they change as children become adolescents and approach adulthood.
Adolescents, along with their mothers, continued in the project until they reached the age of 18. More than 95% of eligible families continued to participate in annual assessments until the study ended in June of 2010.