A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry compares ADHD diagnosed via the DSM-IV criteria and the new DSM-5 in youth. Researchers from the National Institute of Mental Health compared the prevalence and clinical correlates of ADHD as described in the two DSM editions in a nationally representative sample of U.S. youth with a particular focus on the age-of-onset criterion. The sample included nearly 1,900 participants aged 12 to 15 from cross-sectional National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) surveys conducted from 2001 to 2004.
The results demonstrated that the DSM-5 extension of the age-of-onset criterion from 7 to 12 led to an increase in the prevalence rate of ADHD from 7.38% (DSM-IV) to 10.84% (DSM-5). Importantly, youth with later age of onset did not differ from those with earlier age of onset in terms of severity and patterns of comorbidity. The researchers concluded that “the comparability of the clinical significance of the early and later age-of-onset groups supports the DSM-5 extension of the age-of-onset criterion in ADHD.”