The Prevalence of ADHD in a Population-Based Sample.
Few studies of ADHD prevalence have used population-based samples, multiple informants, and Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.; DSM-IV) criteria. Moreover, children who are asymptomatic while receiving ADHD medication often have been misclassified. Therefore, we conducted a population-based study to estimate the prevalence of ADHD in elementary school children using DSM-IV criteria.
We screened 7,587 children for ADHD. Teachers of 81% of the children completed a DSM-IV checklist. We then interviewed parents using a structured interview (DISC). Of these, 72% participated. Parent and teacher ratings were combined to determine ADHD status. We also estimated the proportion of cases attributable to other conditions.
Overall, 15.5% of our sample met DSM- (4th ed.; text rev., DSM-IV-TR) criteria for ADHD (95% CI [14.6%, 16.4%]); 42% of cases reported no previous diagnosis. With additional information, other conditions explained 9% of cases.
The prevalence of ADHD in this population-based sample was considerably higher than 3% to 7%. To compare study results, the DSM criteria need standardization.
Rowland, AS; Skipper, BJ; Umbach, DM; Rabiner, DL; Campbell, RA; Naftel, AJ; Sandler, DP
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