A Systematic Review of Literatures on Factors Associated with Educational and Academic Performance in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been shown to impair major life activities including educational functioning. However, there is no consensus on the specific cause for the impact on this worse educational outcome. This systematic review aims to identify factors that have been associated with educational and academic underperformance of children and adolescents with ADHD. A literature search was conducted using PubMed and the PRISMA guidelines (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses). The study focused on articles presenting results of data-based analyses related to ADHD and keywords related to education. The search resulted in 376 records that were screened by title. Of these, 185 articles were screened by abstract and 35 met the eligibility criteria for inclusion in the review. These 35 articles were related to seven domains: educational training, educational environment, pharmacological treatment, ADHD symptoms, associations of ADHD with academic outcomes, self-concept, and specific skills. The main source of educational challenges seems to be related to the inattentive symptoms (or subtype) of ADHD. This outcome is different than expected, since hyperactive symptoms are pronounced more prominently and often refer children to clinical practice. Inattentive symptoms amongst others refer to difficulties in organization skills and can lead to decreased self-efficacy and development of depressive symptoms. This decreased self-efficacy and the depressive symptoms were also found to be related to influence the relation between ADHD and academic performance. Educational outcomes were shown to be improved using small group work, learning via a computer-based service and as a result of coaching and pharmacological treatment. To help children and adults achieve educational goals that now are out of reach, more attention should be spent to the inattentive symptoms of ADHD and possibilities to overcome experienced problems.

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Kolk, A. , Agthoven, M. , Buitelaar, J. and Roijen, L. (2015) A Systematic Review of Literatures on Factors Associated with Educational and Academic Performance in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Creative Education, 6, 164-180. doi: 10.4236/ce.2015.62015.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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