Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2019 Dec;54(12):1555-1564.
doi: 10.1007/s00127-019-01720-y. Epub 2019 May 9.

Barriers and Predictors of Medication Use for Childhood ADHD: Findings From a UK Population-Representative Cohort

Affiliations
Free PMC article

Barriers and Predictors of Medication Use for Childhood ADHD: Findings From a UK Population-Representative Cohort

A E Russell et al. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Purpose: Little is known about sociodemographic and clinical factors that predict and act as barriers to ADHD medication independently of symptom severity. We examined the proportion of children using medication for ADHD, age of initiation of medication, and predictors of medication use in a population-representative cohort.

Methods: Data from the Millennium Cohort Study on child ADHD, medication use for ADHD at age 14 (in 2014-2015) and child, parent and sociodemographic variables were collated. Logistic regression models were used to identify factors that predict medication use for ADHD (the main outcome measure), adjusting for symptom severity at age seven.

Results: The weighted prevalence of ADHD was 3.97% (N = 11,708). 45.57% of children with ADHD (N = 305) were taking medication. The median age at initiation was 9 years (range 3-14). Male gender (AOR 3.66, 95% CI 1.75, 7.66) and conduct problems at age seven (AOR 1.24 95% CI 1.04, 1.47) and 14 predicted medication use at age 14 after adjusting for symptom severity.

Conclusions: Our study is the first to assess predictors of medication whist adjusting for ADHD symptom severity. Girls with ADHD were less likely to be prescribed medication, even when they displayed similar ADHD symptom levels to boys. Conduct problems also predicted medication independently of ADHD symptoms. ADHD may be more often medicated in boys because clinicians may think a prototypical ADHD child is male, and perhaps conduct problems make boys more disruptive in the classroom, leading to boys being more often treated.

Keywords: ADHD; Cohort; Epidemiology; Gender; Pharmacology.

Figures

Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Age at medication initiation for children reported to be taking medication for ADHD

Similar articles

See all similar articles

References

    1. Sayal K, Mills J, White K, Merrell C, Tymms P. Predictors of and barriers to service use for children at risk of ADHD: longitudinal study. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2015;24(5):545–552. - PubMed
    1. Hinshaw SP, Scheffler RM, Fulton BD, Aase H, Banaschewski T, Cheng W, Mattos P, Holte A, Levy F, Sadeh A. International variation in treatment procedures for ADHD: social context and recent trends. Psychiatric Services. 2011;62(5):459–464. - PubMed
    1. Malacrida C. Medicalization, ambivalence and social control: mothers’ descriptions of educators and ADD/ADHD. Health. 2004;8(1):61–80. - PubMed
    1. Wright N, Moldavsky M, Schneider J, Chakrabarti I, Coates J, Daley D, Kochhar P, Mills J, Sorour W, Sayal K. Practitioner review: pathways to care for ADHD–a systematic review of barriers and facilitators. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2015;56(6):598–617. - PMC - PubMed
    1. Danielson Melissa L., Bitsko Rebecca H., Ghandour Reem M., Holbrook Joseph R., Kogan Michael D., Blumberg Stephen J. Prevalence of Parent-Reported ADHD Diagnosis and Associated Treatment Among U.S. Children and Adolescents, 2016. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology. 2018;47(2):199–212. - PMC - PubMed

Publication types

Substances

Feedback