Children and youth treated for ADHD are more likely to come into contact with the juvenile justice system than their non-ADHD counterparts, according to new research from the Telethon Kids Institute, Western Australia.
Researchers found that both boys and girls with ADHD were more than twice as likely to receive a Community Correction Order and three times more likely to be in detention than kids without ADHD.
Using de-identified linked data from Western Australian population databases, the researchers compared the records of nearly 13,000 non-Aboriginal boys and girls aged 10-21 with ADHD, to nearly 30,000 without ADHD.
Only a small proportion of children, 8% of boys and 1% of girls with ADHD, had a Community Correction Order and even fewer had been in detention (1%), but both these justice encounters were more common than for children without ADHD.
‘Our work clearly shows that children with ADHD are more vulnerable, and raises the question of whether early diagnosis and management of children and youth with ADHD may help reduce their over-representation within the juvenile justice system,’ explained lead author Professor Desiree Silva. The full study was published in The Lancet Psychiatry.