The association of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with socioeconomic disadvantage: alternative explanations and evidence.
Bottom Line: Studies throughout Northern Europe, the United States and Australia have found an association between childhood attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and family socioeconomic disadvantage.There was no evidence to suggest childhood ADHD was a causal factor of socioeconomic disadvantage: income did not decrease for parents of children with ADHD compared to controls over the 7-year study period.Although genetic and neurological determinants may be the primary predictors of difficulties with activity level and attention, aetiology appears to be influenced by socioeconomic situation.
Affiliation: ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society (Egenis) & Institute of Health Research, University of Exeter Medical School, Exeter, UK.Show MeSH
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Mentions: ADHD is diagnosed when a child demonstrates inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive behaviours in multiple settings which cause functional impairment (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Potential explanations for the association can be classified into two types. First ‘real’ effects: in lower socioeconomic groups children truly have higher symptom levels. Second, ‘labelling’ effects: greater awareness and access to health care in some groups or differential reporting about the same level of difficulties between groups (Boyle et al., 2011). Figure1 provides a schematic illustration of the causal pathways that may explain the link between childhood ADHD and low SES.
Affiliation: ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society (Egenis) & Institute of Health Research, University of Exeter Medical School, Exeter, UK.