Home News Medical School links ADHD and socio-economic deprivation

Medical School links ADHD and socio-economic deprivation

Image credit: University of Exeter
Image credit: University of Exeter

A recent study has shown links between social and economic status and childhood attention deficit disorder, known as ADHD, in the UK.

The study, led by the University of Exeter Medical School, carried out research on more than 19,500 children, all of whom come from different social and economic backgrounds. All born between 2000 and 2002, each child was analysed at nine months and the ages of three, five, seven and 11. Research is planned to continue into their adult years.

The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry has published the finds. The study covers wide-ranging topics, including parenting, school choice, child behaviour and cognitive development and income.

Dr Ginny Russell, a member of the University of Exeter Medical School, has commented on the find of the study. She states that the results provide “strong evidence that ADHD is also associated with a disadvantaged social and economic background”.

Dr Russell further states that this research has been important as it has illustrated what causes ADHD. Furthermore, in studying the causes of the disorder, methods of prevention can be researched and analysed, allowing greater support and treatment for people suffering from ADHD.

Russell stated: “Some people believe that ADHD in children causes disadvantage to the economic situation of their family, but we found no evidence to support that theory. It’s important to discover more about the causes of this disorder so that we can look towards prevention, and so that we can target treatment and support effectively”.

A number of key factors have been identified which increase the chances of a child having ADHD. These include a child being born into families that sit below the poverty line in the UK and children with parents in social housing. Also mentioned is the increased likelihood of younger mothers having a child with ADHD compared to older mothers. The odds of having a child with the disorder are also increased if the child is born into a single parent household, rather than a household with two live-in parents.

Previous studies on the disorder have been conducted in Northern Europe, the United States and Australia. Overall this study has shown the link between ADHD and socio-economic status exists in the UK.

Beatrice Wood, News Team
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