Thursday, October 16, 2014
Children More Likely to Take ADHD Drugs During School Year Than in the Summer
October 15th, 2014/
A new study finds children are 30 percent more likely to take drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) during the school year than in the summer.
The study found children from wealthier families who live in states with stricter academic standards are more likely to use ADHD drugs only during school months, compared with children in lower-income families in states with less strict school standards.
The findings suggest higher-income families are more likely to make their own decisions about when their child needs ADHD medications, while lower-income families tend to follow doctors’ recommendations to fill prescriptions for the drugs throughout the year, according to USA Today.
“As schools become more academic, as a consequence we’re seeing an increase in school-based stimulant use,” said researcher Marissa King of the Yale School of Management. “Kids are actually just trying to manage a much broader shift in the way the school day is structured.” She said higher-income families want to help their children stay focused in class, which can be difficult without regular physical activity or diversions from academic subjects. “Kids are having more pressure on them to have more sustained attention,” she said.
The researchers found even when children from wealthier and less-wealthy backgrounds were treated by the same doctor, children from wealthier families were more likely to use ADHD drugs only during the school year.
The findings appear in the American Sociological Review.
The prevalence of children ages 4 to 17 who take ADHD medication increased from 4.8 percent in 2007 to 6.1 percent in 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.