Black Children at Higher Odds for ADHD
WEDNESDAY, September 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) – Current wisdom is that white children are at a greater risk for attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than black children, but a new analysis shows otherwise.
In a review of 21 previously published US studies, which included nearly 155,000 black children in the United States, researchers found that 14.5% of those children suffered from ADHD. That’s much higher than the prevalence estimate of 9.4% for all American children, from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Black people are no less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, as is generally stated in the scientific literature. In fact, they are even more at risk,” said lead researcher Jude Mary Cenat. He is an Assistant Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada.
The study also found racial disparities when ADHD symptoms are reported by teachers. “They generally reported more symptoms for black youth,” Cenat said.
Although black children are more likely to suffer from ADHD, the reasons are not known.
Some contributing factors include poverty, which is a major risk factor for ADHD symptoms in black children, Cenat added.
But while high socioeconomic status is protective in white children, it is not in black children, he noted.
Another explanation may be that black parents are not as knowledgeable when it comes to knowing the signs of ADHD. Additionally, they may fear further racial discrimination because of a diagnosis of ADHD, the study authors noted.
“More research is needed to better understand the association between race and ADHD, particularly between racial discrimination and ADHD,” Cenat said.
He believes diagnostic tools that target black children are urgently needed to help professionals make a definitive diagnosis of ADHD.
“The need for culturally appropriate diagnostic instruments is urgent,” Cenat said. “We cannot continue to assess young people in black communities with tools that are not culturally appropriate, to give them drugs with known side effects based on biased diagnoses. Therefore, research needs to be done to develop effective ones. culturally appropriate assessment tools and treatments. ”
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