ADHD Among African-Americans
Awareness about and diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in minority populations in the United States has increased over the past decade. The higher numbers diagnosed likely are the result of more widespread attention to signs, symptoms, and diagnosis.
As a result, ADHD has been increasingly recognized among African-Americans.
As recognition of ADHD grows in the African-American community, access to accurate and culturally relevant information about ADHD in this population is important for individuals, families, and practitioners alike. In particular, the following six issues deserve attention:
- Prevalence of ADHD among African-Americans
- How race affects ADHD
- Research on differences in treatment among racial groups
- The impact of cultural beliefs
In 2010, the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics published an analysis of data (PDF) related to the prevalence of ADHD in various racial groups. The data was obtained from the National Health Interview Study over the ten-year period from 1998 to 2007.
This research found an increase in numbers of children diagnosed with ADD over the study years, particularly among white and black, non-Hispanic, children.
While the data showed that ADHD prevalence varied by race and ethnicity, differences between groups narrowed over the study period. By 2007–2009 ADHD prevalence was similar among Caucasian, African-American, and Puerto Rican children.
Since prevalence estimates in this report were based on parental report of a child ever receiving a diagnosis, results could be affected by the accuracy of parental memory, by differential access to health care between groups, or by parental willingness to report an ADHD diagnosis.
It was not possible in the study to discern whether the growing prevalence rates indicate a true change in prevalence or, instead, increased detection and diagnosis of ADHD.