ADHD-hyperactive/impulsive subtype in adults

Christopher Gibbins, Margaret D. Weiss, David W. Goodman, Paul S. Hodgkins, Jeanne M. Landgraf, Stephen V. Faraone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This is the first study to evaluate ADHDhyperactive/impulsive subtype in a large clinical sample of adults with ADHD. The Quality of Life, Effectiveness, Safety and Tolerability (QuEST) study included 725 adults who received clinician diagnoses of any ADHD subtype. Cross-sectional baseline data from 691 patients diagnosed with the hyperactive/impulsive (HI), inattentive (IA) and combined subtypes were used to compare the groups on the clinician administered ADHD-RS, clinical features and health-related quality of life. A consistent pattern of differences was found between the ADHD-I and combined subtypes, with the combined subtype being more likely to be diagnosed in childhood, more severe symptom severity and lower HRQL. Twenty-three patients out of the total sample of 691 patients (3%) received a clinician diagnosis of ADHD -hyperactive/impulsive subtype. Review of the ratings on the ADHD-RS-IV demonstrated, however, that this group had ratings of inattention comparable to the inattentive group. There were no significant differences found between the ADHD-HI and the other subtypes in symptom severity, functioning or quality of life. The hyperactive/impulsive subtype group identified by clinicians in this study was not significantly different from the rest of the sample. By contrast, significant differences were found between the inattentive and combined types. This suggests that in adults, hyperactivity declines and inattention remains significant, making the hyperactive/impulsive subtype as defined by childhood criteria a very rare condition and raising questions as to the validity of the HI subtype in adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-45
Number of pages5
JournalMental Illness
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010


  • ADHD
  • Adult
  • Attention deficit
  • Quality of life
  • Subtypes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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