The prevalence and correlates of adult ADHD in the United States: results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication

Am J Psychiatry. 2006 Apr;163(4):716-23. doi: 10.1176/ajp.2006.163.4.716.

Abstract

Objective: Despite growing interest in adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), little is known about its prevalence or correlates.

Method: A screen for adult ADHD was included in a probability subsample (N=3,199) of 18-44-year-old respondents in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication, a nationally representative household survey that used a lay-administered diagnostic interview to assess a wide range of DSM-IV disorders. Blinded clinical follow-up interviews of adult ADHD were carried out with 154 respondents, oversampling those with positive screen results. Multiple imputation was used to estimate prevalence and correlates of clinician-assessed adult ADHD.

Results: The estimated prevalence of current adult ADHD was 4.4%. Significant correlates included being male, previously married, unemployed, and non-Hispanic white. Adult ADHD was highly comorbid with many other DSM-IV disorders assessed in the survey and was associated with substantial role impairment. The majority of cases were untreated, although many individuals had obtained treatment for other comorbid mental and substance-related disorders.

Conclusions: Efforts are needed to increase the detection and treatment of adult ADHD. Research is needed to determine whether effective treatment would reduce the onset, persistence, and severity of disorders that co-occur with adult ADHD.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • 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
  • Age Factors
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Diagnosis, Dual (Psychiatry)
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Unemployment / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology