Objective: To review research on pre-, peri-, and postnatal stress and their potential relation to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Method: We selected and critically reviewed 51 research reports from the medical and psychology literature, between January 1, 1976 and May 1, 2001, based on the subjects of pre-, peri-, or postnatal stress and ADHD.
Results: Children with ADHD show higher percentages of pre-, peri-, or postnatal insult, compared with unaffected children; however, the relative influence of various factors is still controversial.
Conclusions: The etiology of ADHD encompasses genetic and environmental factors. Pre-, peri-, and postnatal stressors are environmental factors that may play a role in its etiology. Future research should carefully examine interactions between genetic predisposition and environmental factors as etiologies of ADHD.