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Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 2016 Aug;47(4):574-82. doi: 10.1007/s10578-015-0591-6.

Demographic Characteristics and Psychiatric Comorbidity of Children and Adolescents Diagnosed with ADHD in Specialized Healthcare.

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Department of Child Psychiatry, University of Turku, Lemminkäisenkatu 3/Teutori. 3rd Floor, 20014, Turku, Finland.
Department of Child Psychiatry, University of Turku, Lemminkäisenkatu 3/Teutori. 3rd Floor, 20014, Turku, Finland.
Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY, USA.
Navy Command Finland, Turku, Finland.
School of Medicine, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland.
Nordic School of Public Health, Gothenburg, Sweden.
National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland.
New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA.
Department of Child Psychiatry, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland.


Recent studies have shown an increasing incidence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among children diagnosed in specialized services. This study aims to describe children with ADHD in Finnish specialized healthcare by reporting the demographic characteristics, time trends in diagnosis, psychiatric comorbidity, and the validity of register-based diagnoses. All the singletons born in Finland between 1991 and 2005 and diagnosed with ADHD by 2011 were identified and their psychiatric comorbidity data was obtained from the Finnish Hospital Discharge Register (FHDR). Parents of 69 patients were interviewed via telephone for a diagnostic validation. A total of 10,409 children were identified with ADHD, with a male: female ratio of 5.3:1 and a psychiatric comorbidity rate of 76.7 %. Of the validation sample 88 % met the diagnostic criteria of ADHD for DSM-IV. There is an increasing trend of ADHD diagnosis among both males and females. Psychiatric comorbidity is common and includes a wide range of disorders among children with ADHD. There was an increase of ADHD diagnoses especially among boys. More attention is needed to detect ADHD among girls in health services. Diagnoses in the FHDR show diagnostic validity and their sociodemographic patterns are in line with previous studies.


ADHD; Comorbidity; Epidemiology; Register-based; Validation

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