The prevalence and effects of adult attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder on work performance in a nationally representative sample of workers

J Occup Environ Med. 2005 Jun;47(6):565-72. doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000166863.33541.39.


Objective: The prevalence and workplace consequences of adult attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are unknown.

Methods: An ADHD screen was included in a national household survey (n = 3198, ages 18-44). Clinical re-interviews calibrated the screen to diagnoses of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition ADHD. Diagnoses among workers were compared with responses to the WHO Health and Work Performance Questionnaire (HPQ).

Results: A total of 4.2% of workers had ADHD. ADHD was associated with 35.0 days of annual lost work performance, with higher associations among blue collar (55.8 days) than professional (12.2 days), technical (19.8 days), or service (32.6 days) workers. These associations represent 120 million days of annual lost work in the U.S. labor force, equivalent to dollar 19.5 billion lost human capital.

Conclusions: ADHD is a common and costly workplace condition. Effectiveness trials are needed to estimate the region of interest of workplace ADHD screening and treatment programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / economics
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology*
  • Efficiency*
  • Employee Performance Appraisal*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Workplace*