Short-term persistence of DSM-IV ADHD diagnoses: Influence of context, age, and gender

José J. Bauermeister, Héctor R. Bird, Patrick E. Shrout, Ligia Chavez, Rafael Ramírez, Glorisa Canino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Little is known about the effect of social context and gender on persistence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children of early and middle school years. The study compared persistence of DSM-IV ADHD and ADHD not otherwise specified (NOS) over 2 years in two groups of Puerto Rican children. Method: A three-wave study obtained data on Puerto Rican children 5 through 13 years of age at baseline. Samples were drawn in the South Bronx in New York (n = 1,138) and two metropolitan areas in Puerto Rico (n = 1,353). The Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children Version IV was used to diagnose ADHD and ADHD-NOS. Results: ADHD or ADHD-NOS diagnosis at wave 1 strongly predicted disorder at waves 2 and 3. ADHD had a significantly stronger predictive effect than ADHD-NOS consistently across site and gender. There was a significant interaction with baseline age. For those younger at baseline, the strength of the prediction of ADHD-NOS was relatively weak; for older children, the presence of ADHD-NOS at baseline predicted risk of subsequent ADHD or ADHD-NOS. Conclusions: Persistence of ADHD in children of similar ethnicity does not manifest differently across context and gender. Results suggest that age-specific symptom criteria and modification of age-of-onset criteria should be considered for the diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)554-562
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder not otherwise specified
  • attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • context
  • gender
  • persistence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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