Skip to main content

ADHD or Immaturity? School Entry Age Study

  • Synopsis: Published: 2016-03-11 - New study reveals age of child at school entry may have an effect on ADHD diagnosis. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Elsevier Health Sciences at www.elsevierhealth.com.
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder - Similar to hyperkinetic disorder in the ICD-10) - is a developmental neuro-psychiatric disorder in which there are significant problems with executive functions (e.g., attentional control and inhibitory control) that cause attention deficits, hyperactivity, or impulsiveness which is not appropriate for a person's age. These symptoms must begin by age six to twelve and persist for more than six months for a diagnosis to be made. In school-aged individuals inattention symptoms often result in poor school performance.

Main Document

Quote: "Our findings emphasize the importance of considering the age of a child within a grade when diagnosing ADHD and prescribing medication to treat ADHD."

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is typically diagnosed in childhood and manifests as an inability to sustain attention and control activity levels and impulse control.

Some reports have indicated a prevalence of up to 15% in Western countries.

Although the causes of ADHD are still unknown, a new study scheduled for publication in The Journal of Pediatrics found that a child's age at school entry may have an effect on the diagnosis of ADHD.

Dr. Mu-Hong Chen and colleagues from Taipei and Taoyuan, Taiwan, examined cohort data from 378,881 children ages 4-17 years from 1997 to 2011 and evaluated the prevalence of being given a diagnosis of ADHD and/or prescribed ADHD medication.

Using the Taiwanese annual cut-off birthdate of August 31 for school enrollment, the researchers compared the youngest children in a grade (those born in August) with the oldest (those born in September) and assessed whether age was associated with being diagnosed with ADHD and/or being medicated.

When looking at the database as a whole, children born in August were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and/or receive ADHD medication than those born in September.

When broken down and analyzed according to age, only preschool or elementary school-aged children born in August had an increased risk of being diagnosed with ADHD and receiving ADHD medication. However, adolescents born in August did not have an increased risk of ADHD diagnosis. This may imply that increasing age and maturity lessens the impact of birth month on ADHD diagnoses.

Worldwide, the number of children and adolescents being diagnosed with ADHD or receiving a prescription for ADHD has significantly increased.

Evidence shows that relative age, which may be a proxy of neurocognitive ability, may increase the likelihood of ADHD diagnosis and medication.

According to Dr. Chen, "Our findings emphasize the importance of considering the age of a child within a grade when diagnosing ADHD and prescribing medication to treat ADHD."

Related Information:

  1. How Dietary Changes Can Help Children with ADHD - University of Copenhagen
  2. ADHD Linked to Low Maternal Education, Lone Parents and Welfare Benefits - Wiley-Blackwell
  3. Fidgeting and ADHD - Thomas C. Weiss


Information from our ADHD and ADD: Facts and Research section - (Full List).

E-Newsletter

Loan Information for low income singles, families, seniors and disabled. Includes home, vehicle and personal loans.


Famous People with Disabilities - Well known people with disabilities and conditions who contributed to society.


List of awareness ribbon colors and their meaning. Also see our calendar of awareness dates.


Blood Pressure Chart - What should your blood pressure be. Also see information on blood group types and compatibility.


  1. FDA Issues Guidance on Generic Abuse-Deterrent Opioid Development
  2. Getting a Job with a Disability - Infographic with Transcript
  3. New Sports and Disciplines for Paris 2024 Paralympics
  4. Video Game Improves Balance in Youth With Autism




Citation