Study Shows Rise in ADHD Diagnosis Among Children

Jennifer Dooren writing in The Wall Street Journal on the rise in diagnosis of ADHD among children, especially in high-income homes:

White children from high-income homes are most likely to be diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, as more children overall are getting a diagnosis of ADHD, according to a study released Monday that looked at hundreds of thousands of California medical records.

The study, published online in JAMA Pediatrics, found that 4.9% of children treated through insurer Kaiser Permanente Southern California were diagnosed with ADHD during the decadelong study. The figure is slightly lower than government and other estimates that suggest almost 10% of school-age children have the disorder. But it matches other studies showing a significant rise in the rate of first-time ADHD diagnosis for children.

Boys, unsurprisingly, are generally diagnosed more than girls (see graph below), however, as the article suggests, it’s due to a cultural shift in our expectations as kindergartens have become more academic and our collective tolerance levels for more active play have gone down.

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