Social adversity predicts ADHD-medication in school children--a national cohort study

Acta Paediatr. 2010 Jun;99(6):920-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2009.01638.x. Epub 2009 Dec 11.


Aims: To test the hypothesis that psychosocial adversity in the family predicts medicated ADHD in school children.

Method: ADHD-medication during 2006 was identified in the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register in national birth cohorts of 1.1 million 6-19 year olds. Logistic regression models adjusted for parental psychiatric disorders were used to test our hypothesis.

Results: There was a clear gradient for ADHD medication with level of maternal education, with an adjusted odds ratio of 2.20 (2.04-2.38) for the lowest compared with the highest level. Lone parenthood and reception of social welfare also implied higher risks of ADHD-medication with adjusted ORs of 1.45 (1.38-1.52) and 2.06 (1.92-2.21) respectively. Low maternal education predicted 33% of cases with medicated ADHD and single parenthood 14%.

Conclusions: Social adversity in the family predicts a considerable proportion of ADHD-medication in school children in Sweden.

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Parents / psychology
  • Psychology, Social
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • Single-Parent Family / statistics & numerical data
  • Social Welfare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology