According to Thomas Ray, lead author, the new study implies “that the diagnoses and health care utilization that a mother receives prior to having her child is predictive of having a child who is diagnosed with ADHD.”
“Our study raises the possibility that certain types of mothers — those who get or seek diagnoses and who use more health services — may be more likely to seek ADHD diagnoses for their children,” he added.
Ray said that the mothers of children who are diagnosed with ADHD are more likely to be diagnosed with health conditions such as depression and anxiety disorder and use more health services in the year prior to, and the two years after, the birth of their child.
During the study, researchers identified three groups: mothers of children with ADHD, mother of children without ADHD and mothers of children with asthma.
The researchers compared the mothers’ diagnoses, health care use and costs among the groups.
They found that mothers of children with ADHD spent about 1,000 dollars more on health care in the year before and in the two years following the birth of their child compared to mothers who did not have children with ADHD and they had more illnesses than mothers of children with asthma did.
However, according to the researchers, it is still not clear whether the effects are due to biological, environmental or psychosocial factors — or some combination of these.
The study appears in the January issue of the journal Medical Care.