The findings of the research have a range of implications for parents, teachers and clinicians.
The research was led by Kapil Sayal
, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the School of Medicine
at The University of Nottingham. Professor Sayal said: “Teachers and parents should be aware of the long-term academic impact of behaviours such as inattention and distractibility. The impact applies across the whole spectrum of scores at the population level and is not just confined to those scoring above a cut-off or at the extreme end.
“Prevention and intervention strategies are key and, in the teenage years, could include teaching students time-management and organisational skills, minimising distractions and helping them to prioritise their work and revision.”
Worse academic outcomes
The results of the study are based on the analysis of behavioural and academic data of participants in Children of the 90s, a population-based study at The University of Bristol.
Parents and teachers completed detailed questionnaires when the children were seven years old to assess a variety of different behaviours including inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity and oppositional/defiant problems. This information was compared with the children’s academic achievements by looking at their GCSE results at age 16.
After taking into account factors such as IQ and parental education and social class, the researchers found that for every one-point increase in inattention symptoms at age seven, across the whole sample, there was a two to three point reduction in GCSE scores and a 6 to 7 per cent increased likelihood of not achieving a minimum level of five ‘good’ GCSE grades (A* to C) at age 16. This relationship was linear — each one-point increase in inattention symptoms increased the risk of worse academic outcomes across the full range of inattention scores in the sample.
When the researchers took inattention into account, the study also found that, in boys, oppositional/defiant behaviours at age seven pose an independent risk to academic achievement.
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with campuses in China and Malaysia modelled on a headquarters that is among the most attractive in Britain’ (Times Good University Guide 2014). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and the winner of ‘Research Project of the Year’ at the THE Awards 2014. It is ranked in the world’s top one per cent of universities by the QS World University Rankings, and 8th in the UK by research power according to REF 2014.
The University of Nottingham in Malaysia (UNMC) is holding events throughout 2015 to celebrate 15 years as a pioneer of transnational education. Based in Semenyih, UNMC was established as the UK’s first overseas campus in Malaysia and one of the first world-wide.
Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…