Late-onset” ADHD symptoms in young adulthood: Is this ADHD? Riglin 2022


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“Late-onset” ADHD symptoms in young adulthood: Is this ADHD? - Lucy Riglin, Robyn E. Wootton, Lucy A. Livingston, Jessica Agnew-Blais, Louise Arseneault, Rachel Blakey, Sharifah Shameem Agha, Kate Langley, Stephan Collishaw, Michael C. O’Donovan, George Davey Smith, Evie Stergiakouli, Kate Tilling, Anita Thapar, 2022 (

"Childhood resources may delay the onset of ADHD."

Research examines “late-onset” ADHD symptoms in young adulthood - News - Cardiff University

Dr Riglin said:
“We examined whether late-onset ADHD was associated with measures that are known to be associated with ADHD and those that indicate depression. We also tested whether more childhood resources, such as verbal ability, reading ability, family income, and maternal education, delayed the presentation of ADHD symptoms.”

The researchers found that late-onset ADHD showed similar characteristics as childhood-onset ADHD when parents reported on their offspring’s (age 25) ADHD, although self-rated late-onset ADHD did not. Late-onset ADHD was also associated with higher levels of childhood resources and did not show similar features as depression.

Dr Riglin added:
“Our findings suggest that late-onset ADHD shares similarities with childhood-onset ADHD when parent-rated; this and other findings suggest that parent reports may be helpful in assessing ADHD even in young adults.

“Our study also suggests that increasing childhood resources may delay ADHD onset, but those symptoms may later emerge as social and educational demands increase (e.g. school exams, transitioning out of school, romantic partnerships) and family resources become less influential.


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Hello @pattismith. Thanks for the info on adult ADHD.

I have a 51 year old daughter who has had it since childhood (no diagnosis then because it simply didn't exist, especially in girls). When she was 13 we finally received a diagnosis from a cluster of doctors, therapists, social workers, etc., at a local hospital. I understand there is still no definitive that right?

She worked after university, often 3 jobs b/c we were in a recession. I know this must have been very difficult for her....but today she found her niche and is highly successful in it. Thankfully, as so many times it can go the other way. Today she sees her own therapist, is on and off meds and I don't pry....she tells me what she wants. She's had a very successful marriage and two children who have none of her problems and are excellent students.

I would classify her as rather bad as we couldn't even let her cross a basic street until she was 12. They simply can't concentrate in the same way as others.

I do believe that the home environment, and cognitive teaching and thinking were applied. She had no drugs, no extra time for tests....when she faced the world, she was prepared for it. It's a tough journey for both parents and child, but the end results are more than worth it.

Yes, she still has the illness, but is very organized, realizes it herself and is coping. So sometimes things do turn out right. However, a lot of work and understanding is involved. Yours, Lenora