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Research: Parental stress a factor in ADHD diagnosis

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is the most frequently diagnosed behavioral disorder in children. The diagnosis affects approximately 3 to 5% of school children or approximately 2 million children in the United States. A large number of children with ADHD, 40-60%, are also diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and/or Conduct Disorder (CD).

According to previous research some have theorized that, "the depressed mood of caregivers creates a negative bias in their descriptions of the child's functioning." Still other researchers have theorized that, "caregiver-child interactions might alter due to the caregiver's depressed mood, causing behavior problems that might not have existed otherwise."

A study in Behaviour Research and Therapy, examined 65 children (58 boys and 7 girls) that had been diagnosed with ADHD. Of the 65 children, 34 were determined to have ODD as well. The study was to examine the agreement of parents and teachers in ADHD symptoms and examine the association between parenting stress and depressed mood on these symptoms.

The authors found that, "our analyses showed that, consistent with previous studies, parents and teachers do not fully agree. Especially for hyperactive/impulsive symptoms, agreement between parents and teachers was low." They also found that parenting stress and not depressed mood, "to be systematically and significantly associated between agreement raters of inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive and oppositional behavior."

The study noted that teachers are just as susceptible as parents to depression and stress. Therefore, teacher ADHD ratings are subject to the "same sort of bias" as parents.

The authors conclude that, "our data suggest that for the assessment of ADHD and ODD symptoms it is important to also assess the emotional well-being of the informant, as this significantly and systematically is related to their ratings. More important than assessing depressed mood, it seems important to assess caregivers' parenting stress levels because parenting stress is more strongly related to informant agreement. It may be argued from the present results that parenting stress measures should be added to standard diagnostic procedures with behaviorally disordered children."


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[Left out a lot, more at source URL]

In other words, kids get agitated when the people around them are agitated. That's a disorder? :P

Posted by: SoulRiser
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Posted in: News by NewsBot on January 27, 2006 @ 12:00 AM

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