Want to have your daughter or son get a proper diagnosis for ADHD in America? It helps if you’re white a study of 17,100 children for 8 years in Pediatrics revealed. This is despite minority children having more risk factors for ADHD.
I wonder if the rates are similar in Canada or different? Or if there are any studies on first nations rates of ADHD? I’ve asked different people in first nations organizations over the years but have not heard anyone knowing of any data available.
Charting The Discrimination Of ADHD Children By Race.
Plot of the survival function or the cumulative proportion of children not diagnosed with ADHD, at each survey wave of ADHD diagnosis by race/ethnicity.
K, kindergarten; 1st, first grade; 5th, fifth grade; 8th, eighth grade.
And to make it worse, if you’re a minority in America, your children are statistically more likely to have more risk factors for ADHD.
African American are diagnosed with ADHD at only two-thirds the rate of white children despite displaying greater ADHD symptomatology.
Minority children are more likely to be exposed to risk markers for ADHD, including low birth weight, low maternal education, low household income, greater frequency of classroom problem behaviors, and lower academic achievement.
Boys had twice the odds of girls of being diagnosed with ADHD. Girls and women with ADHD often get ignored instead of getting properly getting diagnosed and treated.
I know more than 15 women who went through a decade of meds and therapy for depression and or anxiety, asked their doctor, psychiatrist, or psychologist if it could be ADHD, got rudely dismissed. They finally found someone who was properly trained on ADHD, so few are, got diagnosed and properly vs negligently treated and no more depression and or anxiety.
69% lower odds of African-Americans to get diagnosed with ADHD than otherwise identical white children.
50% lower odds of Hispanics to get diagnosed with ADHD than otherwise identical white children.
46% of lower odds of other ethnicities to get diagnosed with ADHD than otherwise identical white children.
While there are many advantages of having ADHD, there are also many disadvantages as well. The earlier ADHD is diagnosed and treated, the less other coexisting condition will accumulate, and the better educational, socio and economic outcomes will be.
Factors increasing children’s risk of an ADHD diagnosis:
- being a boy
- being raised by an older mother 38 years old or more
- being raised in an English-speaking household
- engaging in externalizing problem behaviors. The Externalizing Problem Behaviors subscale items measure acting-out behaviors (eg, argues with a teacher, fights, shows anger, acts impulsively, disturbs the classroom).
Factors decreasing children’s risk of an ADHD diagnosis:
- not having health insurance
- displaying greater academic achievement
- engaging in learning-related behaviors (eg, being attentive)
In addition, and again after extensive statistical control, children diagnosed with ADHD were much less likely to use prescription medication for the disorder if they were Hispanic, African American, or of other races/ethnicities.
Those from the western United States were less likely to be diagnosed than those from the Midwest.
Measured confounding factors do not explain racial/ethnic disparities in ADHD diagnosis and treatment. Culturally sensitive monitoring should be intensified to ensure that all children are appropriately screened, diagnosed, and treated for ADHD.
Hypothesized mechanisms for ADHD diagnosis and treatment disparities
- less frequent access to health professionals and service utilization
- and, when seen, less frequent solicitation by professionals of developmental concerns
- a lower likelihood of referral by school professionals
- limited ability to pay for health care
- negative attitudes toward disability identification and treatment in some racial/ethnic subcultures.
Parents who are willing to step out of denial and seek a diagnosis may be more likely to get one. I’ve read in other articles that African-American and Hispanic parents have even more stigma than White parent (who have quite a lot) against ADHD both the diagnosis and using medication as part of the treatment plan.
Underdiagnosis for African Americans, Hispanics, and children of other races/ethnicities may occur because clinicians are disproportionately responsive to white parents who are more likely to solicit ADHD diagnosis and treatment of their children.
Clinical practice and policy may need to be redirected to ensure that children from minority families are appropriately evaluated, diagnosed, and treated for ADHD.
Our study should inform efforts to reduce racial/ethnic disparities in ADHD diagnosis and pharmacologic treatment. We found that disparities in ADHD diagnosis and treatment occur for children who are Hispanic and of other races/ethnicities as well as for African Americans.
Medical and school-based professionals should ensure that their efforts to reduce racial/ethnic disparities in ADHD diagnosis and treatment also extend to groups other than African Americans.
Our findings provide additional support to calls for increasing solicitations by pediatricians, school psychologists, teachers, and other clinicians of concerns by minority parents for their children’s learning and behavior, ensuring sensitivity to differing cultural values about disability during well-child visits and referrals, and encouraging symptom recognition and help-seeking behaviors by these parents, and suggest that these efforts by clinicians should be made throughout minority children’s early life course
I think the government, healthcare industry, media, schools and community organizations should seek to find targeted and culturally effective ways to reduce discrimination and stigma against ADHD in minority communities and promote awareness of the condition and multiple ways to treat ADHD, there is no one magic bullet.
This also needs to be done in white communities too, have heard many stories of discrimination and stigma against ADHD there as well.