Published: 2021-08-23 14:07 | Updated: 2021-08-23 14:07

ADHD during adolescence to early adulthood – effect on education and future occupation

Andreas Jangmo has looked at Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which is a common childhood-onset developmental disorder in some 5-7% of all children, to find out more about the outcomes later in life. He has focused on school performance and occupational outcomes. He has also studied how school performance is affected by pharmacological treatment, and how educational attainment (e.g., university completion) affects occupational outcomes.

Portrait of Andreas Jangmo
Andreas Jangmo, PhD student at Karolinska Institutet Photo: Gunilla Sonnebring

Could you describe some of the results in your thesis, Andreas?

– We found some interesting patterns of ADHD medication use and school performance where longer medication use correlates with higher school performance than shorter use, says Andreas Jangmo, who is a doctoral student at the Department of medical epidemiology and biostatistics, MEB. There are many alternative explanations for such a pattern than medication use alone, but I think we brought a novel perspective into this area of study. In the occupational outcomes, we follow individuals for up to 16 years after graduation from compulsory school graduation. One of the more interesting findings is that the lower post-compulsory educational attainment (e.g., university completion) among individuals with ADHD does not explain the large part of the associations between ADHD and poor occupational outcomes. Rather our results suggest that these associations originate from individual background factors that affect both educational attainment and occupational outcomes. This is further supported by our finding of a genetic link between ADHD symptoms and employment seeking among young adults, independent of school performance.

Why did you choose to study this particular area?

– I have a background in economics which intersects with the topic of my thesis. But it is thanks to my supervisor Henrik Larsson that this project came to be.

What is next for you after the thesis defense?

– I will be doing a post doc period at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health working on genetics and depression. But I will remain at MEB until December.

Doctoral thesis

“Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and educational outcomes: etiology, treatment effects, and occupational outcomes.”

Andreas Jangmo, Karolinska Institutet (2021), ISBN: 978-91-8016-289-0

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