Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder Diagnosis at Kindergarten Entry: Evidence from a Nationally Representative Sample of U.S. Children

Marianne M. Hillemeier, Pennsylvania State University
Paul Morgan, Pennsylvania State University
George Farkas, University of California, Irvine
Steven Maczuga, Pennsylvania State University

We analyzed Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) data to identify characteristics at 24 months predictive of a parent-reported attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis by 60 months. Black children were 66% less likely to receive an ADHD diagnosis than Whites. Hispanic children initially appeared to be under-diagnosed for ADHD, however their disparity was explained by whether a language other than English was primarily spoken at home. Analyses of teacher-reported classroom behavior indicated that neither Blacks nor those speaking a language other than English at home displayed less ADHD-related symptomology than Whites. Children with very low birthweight and those whose mothers reported that they or their families had experienced mental illness were at greater risk of an ADHD diagnosis, but these groups also displayed greater ADHD-related symptomology. Black children and those in non-English speaking homes were less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, but were not less likely to display ADHD symptomology.

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Presented in Poster Session 2