Possible Link Between ADHD and Childhood Abuse

Share this content:

the Psychiatry Advisor take:

Adults with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are much more likely to report having been sexually or physically abused during their childhood.

Esme Fuller-Thomson, PhD, MSW and Danielle A. Lewis, BS, both of the University of Toronto, examined a sample of 12,877 women and 10,496 men from the Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health.

In women, 34% of those with ADHD said they were sexually abused before they turned 18, while only 14% of women without ADHD reported such abuse, the pair reported in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect. And twice as many women (44%) with ADHD reported physical abuse than women (21%) without the condition.

Among men, 11% with ADHD reported being sexually abused in childhood, compared with 6% who did not have ADHD. For physical abuse, the figures were 41% and 31%, respectively.

Fuller-Thomson noted that the data does not clarify the association between ADHD and abuse. “It may be that early maltreatment affects neurobiological development,” she said in a statement. “It is also possible that children with ADHD are more vulnerable to abuse.”

Lewis also recommended that clinicians who work with children with ADHD also screen them for sexual and physical abuse.

Possible Link Between ADHD and Childhood Abuse
Possible Link Between ADHD and Childhood Abuse

Adults who have attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are much more likely to report they were sexually and physically abused before they turned 18 than their peers without ADHD, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Toronto.

Among women, 34% of those with ADHD reported they were sexually abused before they turned 18. In contrast, 14% of women without ADHD reported that they had experienced childhood sexual abuse. Twice as many women with ADHD reported that they had experienced childhood physical abuse than women without this condition (44% vs 21%).

READ FULL ARTICLE From Medical Express
You must be a registered member of Psychiatry Advisor to post a comment.

Sign Up for Free e-newsletters