Maternal Factors May Increase Risk of Developing ADHD

A new study published in the Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine has shown that mothers can play a key role in determining whether or not their children determine Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This research could be used to help mothers reduce the likelihood that their children will develop ADHD in the future.

The study was conducted by reviewing data from the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents. All children in the survey were under 18. The average recipient was just under 10 years old. The survey included an equal number of males and females in the study. Researchers also accumulated data on the lifestyle of the children’s mothers.

The authors reviewed the data and looked for patterns to determine how mothers could impact a child’s likelihood of developing ADHD. The researchers classified a child as having ADHD if they met the criteria of international Statistical Classification of Diseases. Most psychiatrists and physicians in the United States use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to diagnose children with ADHD. However, the two sets of diagnostic criteria are nearly identical.

Mother’s Socioeconomic Status

Researchers found that mothers from lower socioeconomic statuses were more likely to have children with ADHD. A number of variables are used to define socioeconomic status, including:

  • Level of education
  • Whether or not they are working in a professional career
  • Income

A previous study made similar observations. However, it used a smaller sample size, so researchers weren’t sure how much credence it deserved.

Mother’s With Diabetes Are More Likely to Have Children With ADHD

The study also found that maternal gestation diabetes was a leading risk factor in children developing ADHD. A study conducted by Yoko Nomura of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York made this association back in January. These findings are still being reviewed by other researchers. However, they corroborate the findings of other studies.

Breast-feeding May Reduce Risks of ADHD

Children who breastfeed appear to be at a reduced risk of developing ADHD. This research suggests that mothers with diabetes or coming from low socioeconomic environments can take some measures to keep their children from developing the condition. However, the benefits of breast-feeding were not statistically significant.

Does this Research Offer Hope for Fighting ADHD?

The authors of the study claim their data is encouraging for parents. They argue that mothers can reduce the likelihood of their children developing ADHD if they are able to make the necessary environmental changes. They encourage these mothers to participate in prevention programs that have been shown to significantly reduce the likelihood that their children will develop ADHD.

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  2. Abuse of ADHD Medication on College Campuses (here)
  3. FDA Alert on Counterfeit Adderall (here)

Kalen Smith

Kalen Smith is a professional Internet marketer, consumer researcher and writer. He has been a writer for Weight Loss Triumph and is the cofounder of the blog Great Paleo Diet Cookbooks, where he writes about the paleo diet and lifestyle.

3 thoughts on “Maternal Factors May Increase Risk of Developing ADHD

  • September 20, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Interesting article – it’s a bit scary to think those elements of living could be associated.

  • September 19, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    don’t give up your day-job, correlation does not equal causality

    • September 20, 2012 at 6:20 am

      Hence the title…Maternal Factors May Increase Risk of Developing ADHD


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