Annual Research Review: Perspectives on progress in ADHD science – from characterization to cause

Edmund J.S. Sonuga-Barke, Stephen P. Becker, Sven Bölte, Francisco Xavier Castellanos, Barbara Franke, Jeffrey H. Newcorn, Joel T. Nigg, Luis Augusto Rohde, Emily Simonoff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The science of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is motivated by a translational goal – the discovery and exploitation of knowledge about the nature of ADHD to the benefit of those individuals whose lives it affects. Over the past fifty years, scientific research has made enormous strides in characterizing the ADHD condition and in understanding its correlates and causes. However, the translation of these scientific insights into clinical benefits has been limited. In this review, we provide a selective and focused survey of the scientific field of ADHD, providing our personal perspectives on what constitutes the scientific consensus, important new leads to be highlighted, and the key outstanding questions to be addressed going forward. We cover two broad domains – clinical characterization and, risk factors, causal processes and neuro-biological pathways. Part one focuses on the developmental course of ADHD, co-occurring characteristics and conditions, and the functional impact of living with ADHD – including impairment, quality of life, and stigma. In part two, we explore genetic and environmental influences and putative mediating brain processes. In the final section, we reflect on the future of the ADHD construct in the light of cross-cutting scientific themes and recent conceptual reformulations that cast ADHD traits as part of a broader spectrum of neurodivergence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)506-532
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • ADHD
  • brain imaging
  • development
  • genetics
  • stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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