Fading memories: Retrospective recall inaccuracies in ADHD

Carlin J. Miller, Jeffrey H. Newcorn, Jeffrey M. Halperin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Objective: This longitudinal study examines the recall accuracy of childhood ADHD symptoms in late adolescence and early adulthood by youth and their parents, compared with reports obtained during childhood. Method: Participants (N = 94) are initially evaluated when they are aged between 7 and 11 and reassessed when they are aged between 16 and 22 years. All participants meet full DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for ADHD in childhood. Assessments at baseline and follow-up include clinical interviews and ADHD checklists. Results: Results indicate that both youth and their parents have limited retrospective recall of childhood symptoms. Current ADHD symptoms improve accuracy of recall. Specifically, when current symptoms are endorsed, participants are more likely to recall clinically significant childhood ADHD symptoms. Conclusion: These results suggest that late adolescents and young adults with ADHD and their parents have limited ability to accurately recall childhood symptoms, with reporting of past symptoms influenced by reports of severity of current symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-14
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Attention Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010


  • ADHD
  • Accuracy
  • Adults
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Recall


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