Race/ethnicity and insurance status as factors associated with ADHD treatment patterns

J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2005 Feb;15(1):88-96. doi: 10.1089/cap.2005.15.88.


Using data from the 1997-2000 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), disparities in different stages of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) health care were investigated, from initial detection to follow-up physician visits and psychotherapy appointments. Differences in ADHD diagnoses, stimulant usage, and health-care visits were examined by age, race/ethnicity, region, and type of insurance. Major significant findings were: (1) children without insurance had lower levels of care in all stages relative to children with insurance, (2) Hispanic-American and African-American children were less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD by parent report than were white American children, and (3) African-American youths with ADHD were less likely to initiate stimulant medication relative to white American children. Implications for expanding childhood health insurance coverage, and for future work on minority mental health care in regard to ADHD, are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Continental Population Groups*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnic Groups*
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health*
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use*
  • United States


  • Psychotropic Drugs