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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. clesesne@cdc.gov



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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