Exposure to partner violence, depression associated with ADHD in children
Children whose parents reported incidents of intimate partner violence and depressive symptoms were more likely to have a diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, according to new study results.
“Pediatricians play a critical role in performing active, ongoing surveillance of families with these known social risk factors and providing early intervention to negate long-term sequelae,” the researchers wrote.
Nerissa S. Bauer, MD, MPH, and colleagues from Indiana University School of Medicine examined the relationship between parent reports of intimate partner violence and depression and children’s subsequent mental illness and psychotropic drug use. The study included 2,422 children receiving care from four Indiana pediatric clinics.
Results indicated that 2.4% of caregivers reported both intimate partner violence and depressive symptoms before their children were aged 3 years; 2.8% reported intimate partner violence only; 29.1% reported depressive symptoms only; and 65.7% reported no exposure. Even after adjusting for the child’s sex, race/ethnicity and insurance type, the researchers found that children whose parents reported both intimate partner violence and depressive symptoms were more likely to have a diagnosis of ADHD (adjusted OR=4.0; 95% CI, 1.5-10.9), and children whose parents reported depressive symptoms were more likely to have used psychotropic medication (AOR=1.9; 95% CI, 1.0-3.4).
According to the researchers, an estimated 1.5 million children witness intimate partner violence every year.
“Children in families reporting [intimate partner violence], past or present, should be screened for mental health conditions and monitored over time for behavioral concerns and poor functioning,” the researchers wrote.
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.