Swedish Study socioeconomic Might be Linked to ADHD

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In a study of more than a million children, Swedish researchers found a strong association between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and socioeconomic status.

The study which was published in the June issue of Acta Paediatrica Swedish explained how they teamed up to do the first study of risk factors for ADHD in a national cohort of school children, based on 1.16 million children on the country's Prescribed Drug Register.

"We identified 7,960 Swedish-born children, aged between six and 19, using a prescription for ADHD medication as our indicator of severe ADHD" explains lead author Professor Anders Hjern from the Centre for Health Equity Studies, a collaboration between the Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm University.

"We then tracked their records through other registers, using the unique ten digit reference number all Swedish residents are given at birth, to determine a number of other factors."

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Hjern further stated that, "Genes are also known to play an important role in the development of ADHD and studies of identical twins show that they are very likely to exhibit the same ADHD traits"

The study found that Boys were three times more likely to be on ADHD medication than girls and that children were 54 per cent more likely to be on ADHD medication if they came from a single parent family rather than having both parents at home.

The study further found that children coming from a family on welfare benefits increased the risk of ADHD medication by 135 and that women who had only received the most basic education were 130 per cent more likely to have a child on ADHD medication than women with university degrees.

"Our study showed that almost half of the cases could be explained by the socioeconomic factors included in our analysis, clearly demonstrating that these are potent predictors of ADHD-medication in Swedish schoolchildren" says Professor Hjern.

Hjern said "Lack of time and money are more common in single parent families, as are lack of social support and family conflict, including separation, divorce and parental absence.”

More studies will continue and focus might now be put on the interaction between genes and environmental factors.

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