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J Atten Disord. 2009 Jan;12(4):330-40. doi: 10.1177/1087054708323248.

ADHD and health services utilization in the national health interview survey.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Florida College of Medicine, Jacksonville, FL 32209, USA.



Describe the general health, comorbidities and health service use among U.S. children with ADHD.


The 2001 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) contained the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ; used to determine probable ADHD), data on medical problems, overall health, and health care utilization.


Asthma was two and headaches were three times more prevalent, and overall health was significantly lower, among children with SDQ ADHD. Of children with SDQ ADHD, 45% saw a mental health professional in the past year and over half were not taking medication regularly. Urban residence, age (9-13), higher family education, having health insurance, and having comorbid emotional problems were associated with mental health care utilization in children with SDQ AD/HD, while race, gender and family income were not associated.


Children with SDQ AD/HD had more medical problems and were more likely to visit the emergency room. Treatment data suggest a problem with under-treatment of ADHD in the United States. Interventions should be targeted in rural areas, and among families with low education and without health insurance.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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