Diagnostic and Medication Treatment Disparities in African American Children with ADHD: a Literature Review
Glasofer A, Dingley C.
J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2021 Sep 14.
Commentary* by Dr. Margaret Weiss: Researchers, clinicians and CADDRA advocacy efforts must recognize and address health equity disparities in ADHD.
Background: Despite a national focus on achieving health equity, limited attention has been paid to behavioral and pediatric health disparities. As the most common pediatric neurobehavioral disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) provides an opportunity to assess the status of pediatric behavior health disparities. The purpose of this literature review is to provide a synthesis of existing research on ADHD diagnostic and treatment disparities between African American and White children.
Methods: Studies were systematically identified through searches in PubMed, CINAHL, and APA PsycInfo using the terms attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, disparity, race, ethnicity, diagnosis, medication, and treatment. Summary calculations were conducted to report the proportions of studies with statistically significant differences in ADHD diagnosis and treatment between White and African American children, and to describe trends in disparities over time.
Results: Forty-one studies were included in this review. The majority of studies identified significant disparities in ADHD diagnosis and medication treatment between African American and White children. While diagnostic disparities show a trend toward reduction over time, a similar trend was not observed in medication treatment disparities. This synthesis provides a critique of the existing literature and recommendations for practice and future research.
* Abstracts are selected for their clinical relevance by Dr. Margaret Weiss, Director of Clinical Research, Child Psychiatry, Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard University. Her commentary reflects her own opinion. It is not approved or necessarily representative of the CADDRA board.