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A study by Keyes et al. (2008) of US adolescents adopted as infants found ADHD prevalence in each group as follows:
  • Males
    • 8.5% in non-adopted adolescents (n=248)
    • 28.8% in domestic adoptees (n=105)
    • 19.2% in international adoptees (n=204)
  • Females
    • 5.2% in non-adopted adolescents (n=292)
    • 16.4% in domestic adoptees (n=73)
    • 6.5% in international adoptees(fn=310)

A study of the outcomes of children ages 8–10 who were adopted from Eastern Europe found these behavioral and school problems (Miller 2009):

  • 46% ADHD
  • 41% learning disability
  • 28% mental health disorder
  • 44% externalizing behaviors
  • 18% internalizing behaviors
  • 50% behavioral symptoms



Teens and young adult drivers with ADHD have 28 times more collisions, citations, and suspended licenses than teens and young adults without ADHD (Barkley 2007).


Diversion/Non-medical use of stimulants

A national online survey of non-medical use of stimulants by 10,000 US adults ages 1849 found the following non-medical use of prescription drugs (Cassidy 2015):

  • any prescription drug (35.1%)
  • pain medications (24.6%)
  • sedatives/tranquilizers (15.6%)
  • sleep medications (9.9%)
  • prescription stimulants (8.1%). Rates of non-medical use of prescription stimulants by medication name:
    • Ritalin (1.62%)
    • Adderall (1.61%)
    • Adderall XR (0.62%)
    • Concerta (0.19 %)
    • Vyvanse (0.13%)

Genetics / Hereditary Risk

According to Barkely (2015), the risk of having ADHD if a family member also has ADHD are the following:

  • If a parent has ADHD, the child has up to a 57% chance of also having ADHD. 
  • If a sibling has ADHD, the child has about a 32% chance of having ADHD. 
  • If a twin has ADHD, the other twin has about a 70%80% chance of having ADHD.


Prison / Justice

A 2011 review of research studies on ADHD in prisoners found the rate of ADHD ranged from 10% to 70% (Ghanizadeh et al. 2011). A 1994 study found ADHD in 25% of prisoners in the US. (Eyestone 1994).

A study of 3,962 male and female adult prison inmates (3,439 men and 523 women, mean age 33.6 years, ages 17-73) found an overall ADHD prevalence rate of 10.5%. Prevalence rate for female inmates was 15.1% while for male inmates it was 9.8%. All had completed the 250-item, self-report, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (Text Revision) (DSM-IV-TR)-aligned Coolidge Correctional Inventory (CCI). (Cahil et al. 2012).



A study that examined long-term outcomes, based on medical records of 5,718 adults in the same birth cohort, found that 8% of the 367 adults who had childhood ADHD had committed suicide, while only 1% of the 4,946 adults without ADHD had committed suicide (Barbaresi 2013).

Adults with a history of childhood ADHD are more than twice as likely as controls to have considered or attempted suicide by age 21 years (Barkley, 2008).

A study based on the National Comorbidity Replication Survey (NCS-R) found that of the 365 adults with current ADHD, 16% had attempted suicide. Although ADHD alone was not a strong predictor of suicide attempts, having one or more coexisting disorder increased the risk 4 to 12 times (Agosti 2011).

A 10-year prospective follow-up study of girls with ADHD into early adulthood found that of the 93 girls with ADHD-Combined, 22% had attempted suicide, compared to 8% of the 47 girls with ADHD-Inattentive, and 6% of the 88 girls without ADHD (Hinshaw 2012).



Agosti, Vito et al. (2011). Does Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder increase the risk of suicide attempts? Journal of Affective Disorders, 133(3):595599.

Barbaresi, WJ et al. (April 2013). Mortality, ADHD, and Psychosocial Adversity in Adults With Childhood ADHD: A Prospective Study. Pediatrics, 131(4):637644.

Barkley, Russell A. (2015). Etiologies of ADHD. In R. A. Barkley (Ed.), Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Handbook for Diagnosis and Treatment, 4th ed. (pp. 356390). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Barkley, Russell A. et al. (2008). ADHD in Adults: What the Science Says. New York: Guilford Press, 2008.

Barkley, Russell A. & Daniel Cox (2007). A review of driving risks and impairments associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and the effects of stimulant medication on driving performance. Journal of Safety Research 38(1):113–128.

Cahil BS et al. (2012). Prevalence of ADHD and Its Subtypes in Male and Female Adult Prison Inmates. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 30(2):154-166.

Cassidy, Theresa A. et al. (2015). Nonmedical Use and Diversion of ADHD Stimulants Among U.S. Adults Ages 1849: A National Internet Survey. Journal of Attention Disorders 19(7):630640.

Eyestone LL & RJ Howell. (1994). An epidemiological study of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and major depression in a male prison population. The Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 1994;22:181193.

Ghanizadeh A. et al. (June 2011). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in imprisoned individualsa review. Psychiatria Danubina 223(2):13944.

Hinshaw, SP et al. (December 2012). Prospective Follow-Up of Girls With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Into Early Adulthood: Continuing Impairment Includes Elevated Risk for Suicide Attempts and Self-Injury. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 80(6):10411051.

Keyes, Margaret A. et al. (May 2008). The Mental Health of US Adolescents Adopted in Infancy. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 162(5):419425.

Miller, Laurie et al. (July 2009). Outcomes of children adopted from Eastern Europe. International Journal of Behavioral Development 33(4):289298.


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