Familial-Environmental Risk Factors in South African Children With Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): A Case-Control Study

J Child Neurol. 2015 Sep;30(10):1327-32. doi: 10.1177/0883073814560630. Epub 2014 Dec 14.


We investigated familial and environmental risk factors in a cohort of South African children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A prospective, hospital-based case control study was conducted comprising 50 children diagnosed with ADHD and 50 matched non-ADHD controls. The adjusted effect of familial-environmental risk factors on ADHD was determined by systematic assessment. Birth complications, parental psychiatric disorder, maternal ADHD, early childhood trauma, and nonmaternal child care were significant risk factors for ADHD. Prolonged breastfeeding was found to be protective. In a multivariable logistic regression model, 5 criteria (birth complications, breastfeeding <3 months, at least 1 parent with tertiary education, presence of parental psychiatric disorder, and nonmaternal primary caregiver) differentiated ADHD from non-ADHD controls with a sensitivity and specificity of 74% and 86%, respectively. We found a correlation between certain familial and environmental risk factors and ADHD. A 5-criterion multivariable logistic regression model may offer clinical guidance in ADHD diagnosis.

Keywords: ADHD; familial-environmental; resource-constrained body.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • ROC Curve
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • South Africa / epidemiology