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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

GW Study Finds 43 Percent Increase in ADHD Diagnosis among Kids and Teens

In a recent Dr. Sean D. Cleary, associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University (Milken Institute SPH), and colleagues found that 12 percent of U.S. children and teens had a diagnosis of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in 2011, a number that has jumped by 43 percent since 2003. This analysis suggests that 5.8 million U.S. children ages 5 to 17 now have this diagnosis, which can cause inattention and behavioral difficulties.

Cleary, Sean
[Photo: Dr. Sean D. Cleary]

The report was based on data sponsored by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a National Children’s Survey from 2003-2011. Dr. Cleary and his co-author Mr. Kevin P. Collins of Mathematica Policy Research mined the data looking for trends in parent-reported prevalence of ADHD.

This study was not designed to look at the underlying reasons for such changes in prevalence, Dr. Cleary said. Additional research will need to be done to find out why there has been a rise in the diagnosis, with special attention being paid to certain groups, he adds.

The report, “Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Parent-Reported Diagnosis of ADHD,” was published online December 8 in the The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Read more about the study.