Several studies have, with conflicting results, investigated the relationship between the Val66Met polymorphism in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We assessed longitudinal, quantitative phenotypes of hyperactivity-impulsivity and inattention in order to determine whether the Val66Met polymorphism is associated with age-specific and/or persistent symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity and/or inattention in a community-based cohort of 1236 Swedish individuals for which ADHD symptom data were collected when the participants were aged 8-9, 13-14 and 16-17 yr. The Met allele was associated with symptoms of ADHD at ages 8-9 and 13-14 yr. A multivariate regression analysis revealed that the observed effect of the Met allele on ADHD symptoms reflects an influence on persistent hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms. The present findings support the hypothesis that BDNF is involved in the pathogenesis of ADHD. The results highlight the importance of distinguishing between hyperactivity-impulsivity and inattention, respectively, and demonstrate the value of using a longitudinal approach in genetic studies of ADHD symptoms.