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Prev Med. 2016 Sep;90:8-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2016.06.021. Epub 2016 Jun 22.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and adult mortality.

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Syracuse University, Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, Department of Sociology, Aging Studies Institute, and Center for Policy Research, 314 Lyman Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244-1020, United States. Electronic address:
University of North Florida, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, 1 UNF Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32224-7699, United States. Electronic address:


This study examines the relationship between self-reported ADHD and adult mortality over a four-year period, and whether ADHD is associated with underlying cause of death (accidents versus all others). If ADHD increases mortality risk through accidents, then interventions may be designed and implemented to reduce risk and prevent premature death. We estimate descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression models using data from the 2007 U.S. National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Sample Adult File linked to National Death Index (NDI) data through 2011 (N=23,352). Analyses are weighted and standard errors are adjusted for the complex sampling design. We find that the odds of dying are significantly higher among those with ADHD than among those without ADHD net of exogenous sociodemographic controls (adjusted odds ratio=1.78, 95% confidence interval=1.01, 3.12). Although marginally non-significant, accidental death is more common among those with ADHD than among those without ADHD (13.2% versus 4.3%, p=0.052). Few population-representative studies examine the relationship between ADHD and adult mortality due to data limitations. Using NHIS data linked to the NDI, we are only able to observe a few deaths among adults with ADHD. However, ADHD is associated with significantly higher odds of dying for adults and results suggest that accidents may be an underlying cause of death more often for decedents with ADHD. Future research should further examine the mechanisms linking ADHD to adult mortality and the extent to which mortality among persons with ADHD is preventable. Regular measurement of ADHD among adults in the NHIS is warranted.


Accidents; Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); Mortality

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