January 24, 2024
Children with disabilities are known to be at heightened risk of violence compared to their non-disabled peers. To what extent does this hold true for ADHD?
Denmark has a single-payer health insurance system through which health data about virtually the entire population can be cross-referenced with population, crime, welfare, and other registers through unique individual person numbers.
A Danish study team accessed national registers to examine the relationship between ADHD and criminal victimhood among nine yearly birth cohorts totaling more than 570,000 children and adolescents.
Of these, 557,521, among them 12,040 with ADHD, were not reported as being exposed to violence, and 12,830, among which 1,179 with ADHD, were exposed to violence.
From the raw data, children and adolescents with ADHD were more than four times as likely to be exposed to violence than their typically developing peers.
The team then adjusted for other disabilities, family risk factors, gender, birth year, and ethnic background.
With these confounders out of the way, children and adolescents with ADHD remained more than twice as likely to be exposed to violence than their typically developing peers.
To place this outcome in further perspective:
Certain family risk factors further aggravated the odds:
Perhaps surprisingly, substance abuse by family members had no effect whatsoever after adjusting for confounders.
Ask Elklit, Siobhan Murphy, Christian Skovgaard, and Mette Lausten, “Physical violence against children with disabilities: A Danish national birth cohort prospective study,” European Journal of Psychotraumatology (2023), Vol. 14, No. 1, 2173764, https://doi.org/10.1080/20008066.2023.2173764.