ADHD News & Research

Study: ADHD Symptom Severity Linked to School Behavior Problems

Severe ADHD symptoms in students is linked to school behavior problems, including expulsions, according to a recent study from the Czech Republic.

December 30, 2022

Adults with severe ADHD symptoms were more likely to be expelled and receive reprimands from teachers as school children compared to adults with less severe or no ADHD symptoms, according to a partial study published this month in the Journal of Attention Disorders.1

Researchers compared the school experiences and intensity of ADHD symptoms in 1,518 adults from the Czech Republic aged 18 to 65. Participants answered questions from the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS) and were grouped according to symptom manifestation, or “ADHD type”: low, medium, and high.

Findings revealed that those with higher ADHD symptoms were “significantly more likely to be expelled, receive notes for bad behavior, disturbing or forgetting, as well as receive reprimands from teachers” as children.

“The results suggest that children with higher ADHD symptomatology are more likely to be forgetful, restless, and misbehave — which then gets written down by their teachers,” researchers said. “The school difficulties were found regardless of age, and students with increased ADHD symptomatology struggled in elementary and lower high school.”

Behavior grades were not significantly different between groups.

“School behavioral problems can have long-term negative consequences on educational and working careers,” researchers said. “Even in places where behavior is not graded, such as in the U.S. school systems, an ADHD diagnosis is associated with a significantly lower grade point average.”

Researchers recommend “early ADHD screening and improved education of teachers and school workers about the association between ADHD and possible school problems.” They also noted the importance of screening for comorbid conditions like anxiety, which can also influence school performance or even be misdiagnosed as ADHD.

“Such raised awareness can positively affect teachers’ approach and, subsequently, their way of evaluating children,” they said.


1 Vňuková, M., Děchtěrenko, F., Weissenberger, S., Anders, M., & Ptáček, R. (2022). Childhood School Performance in Adults Diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Journal of Attention Disorders, 0(0).