The relationship between early adversities and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

download file
Child Abuse and Neglect, 47: 94-101

Fuller-Thomson, Esme
Lewis, Danielle A.

Journal article
Canadian CW research

This study examined whether retrospectively reported childhood physical abuse, childhood sexual abuse and/or exposure to parental domestic violence were associated with self-report of a health-professional diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among adults. We analyzed nationally representative data from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health using gender-specific bivariate and logistic regression analyses (n = 10,496 men; n = 12,877 women). For both men and women, childhood physical abuse was associated with significantly higher odds of reporting ADHD (men odds ratio [OR] = 1.66, p < .001; women OR = 1.95, p < .001). For both genders, childhood sexual abuse was also significantly related to higher odds of ADHD (men OR = 2.57, p < .001; women OR = 2.55, p < .001); however, exposure to parental domestic violence was only associated with elevated odds of ADHD among women (men OR = 0.89, p = .60; women OR = 1.54, p = .03). The results demonstrate a link between childhood physical and sexual abuse and ADHD for both men and women. Future prospective studies are required to further understand this interesting relationship.

Additional information available for these authors