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Pediatrics. 2003 May;111(5 Pt 2):1232-7.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in school-aged children: association with maternal mental health and use of health care resources.

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  • 1National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.



To investigate the association between the mental health status of mothers and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in their school-aged children and to characterize the health care access and utilization of families affected by ADHD.


Survey logistic regression procedures were used to investigate the association between activity-limiting mental health conditions in mothers and ADHD in their school-aged children using 1998 National Health Interview Survey data. A total of 9529 mother-child dyads were included in the final analysis.


The prevalence of ADHD among children aged 4 to 17 years was 6.3%. Survey logistic regression statistics revealed an association between an activity-limiting depression, anxiety, or emotional problem in mothers and ADHD in their children. This association persisted after controlling for the gender, age, and race of the child; household income (as a function of the 1997 poverty level); and type of family structure as reported by the mother (adjusted odds ratio [OR]: 4.2; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.2-8.1). Mothers of a child with ADHD were 13 times more likely to have consulted with a mental health professional about their child's health within the past year despite reporting an inability to afford prescription medications (OR: 3.3; 95% CI: 2.2-4.9) and mental health care (OR: 7.4; 95% CI: 4.6, 11.8) for the child.


Maternal mental health is significantly associated with the presence of ADHD in school-aged children. This finding further supports a link between maternal mental health and behavioral outcomes in children. Health care utilization and access findings support a family-oriented system of care.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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