Friday, November 14, 2008

ADHD Causes Divorce?

Reuters reported last week on a recent study that suggests a link between children with ADHD and parents who divorce.

Parents of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be more likely than other parents to divorce before their child's 8th birthday, a new study suggests.

The study included nearly 500 couples - 286 had a child with ADHD and 206 had a child without this condition. The researchers found that couples with a child with ADHD were almost twice as likely to divorce before their child turned 8 years old. After that age, however, divorce rates were similar in both groups of parents.

Past research has found that compared with couples with a child without ADHD, parents of children with the disorder tend to argue more often and be less satisfied with their marriage. But studies have come to conflicting conclusions regarding the divorce rate.

Of course, I have no data to back up my theories, but should we not look at this study and question if unhealthy marriages create an environment that fosters the development of ADHD? When I read this study, I am inclined to wonder if the researchers have it all wrong. Maybe the child does not cause a divorce, but instead, marriages in turmoil serve to negatively affect the well-being of children.

Obviously, problems can occur in children who grow up even in the best of homes, but because ADHD is a clinical diagnosis, it is a diagnosis based on signs and symptoms which may or may not include inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impusliveness. Of course, other symptoms and signs are common, but many of the signs and symptoms are also common for children who do not receive proper love and attention at home.

I wonder if some children diagnosed with ADHD should really be diagnosed with bad parent disorder instead. Remember, I write as a fellow ADHD sufferer (I was a late bloomer, not diagnosed until I was completing my Masters Degree) and so I am not questioning the reality of the disorder, but I do call into question the popularity of the diagnosis, especially in light of the research stated in the Reuters article cited above.

I'd love your comments on this issue.

HT: Bowden McElroy

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