Kids With ADHD Face More Learning Disabilities and Other Woes, Study Says

Filed under: In The News, Research Reveals: Big Kids, Research Reveals: Tweens, Research Reveals: Teens

ADHD and learning disabilities and anxiety.

Two-thirds of U.S. kids with ADHD have higher odds of suffering from other conditions. Credit: Getty

If your child has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, he or she may face more struggles, as researchers are discovering kids with ADHD encounter multiple mental health and development conditions.

A new study shows two-thirds of American children with ADHD have higher odds of suffering from learning disabilities and anxiety, making them more likely than their peers to have to repeat a grade and deal with strained family relationships, HealthDay News reports.

Researchers at the Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities at the University of California, Los Angeles, examined data from nearly 62,000 children ages 6 to 17 obtained from the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health and found children from poor families were nearly four times as likely as affluent children to suffer from multiple conditions associated with ADHD, including conduct disorder, depression and speech problems, among others, according to HealthDay.

"This is a really striking finding that I don't think has been documented before," study author Kandyce Larson, a research associate at the UCLA Center, tells the website.

ADHD, a condition characterized by impulsiveness and difficulty staying focused, is one of the most common cognitive and behavioral disorders diagnosed in school-age children, according to the study published in the journal Pediatrics. It affects about 8 percent of U.S. children, HealthDay reports.

The researchers used detailed parent interviews to determine if health care providers had ever told them their children had ADHD. An "Aggravation in Parenting" scale measured parental stress by asking how often the child angered them and if the child was much more difficult to care for than others, according to the website.

In total, 67 percent of youngsters with ADHD had at least one other reported mental health or neurodevelopmental disorder, compared with 11 percent of unaffected American children, and 18 percent had three or more additional conditions, researchers tell HealthDay.

Experts in ADHD are praising the study for its large sample population, but claim the parental reporting may be misleading, according to the website.

"Is this reality or parental perception?" Richard Milich, a professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky, tells HealthDay. "A dysfunctional mother may find a child multiply impaired because she may not be able to handle it."

Milich tells the site low-income children may face other risk factors including poor nutrition, which can explain their disproportionately high rates of ADHD.

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