Research Finds Young Adults With Childhood ADHD Earn 38% Less

Timothy Page, Ph.D.

Timothy Page, Ph.D.

Health Policy & Management faculty member Timothy F. Page served as the corresponding author of the recently published paper, Financial Dependence of Young Adults with Childhood ADHD, which identified inferior financial outcomes among young adults who were diagnosed with ADHD in childhood.

“We expected to find worse outcomes among the ADHD group. What was not known was the magnitude of the difference,” said Page. The size of the earnings difference for young adults with ADHD was found to be three times the size of the earnings difference caused by diabetes, which is commonly thought of as one of the most debilitating chronic diseases. In fact, ADHD group individuals earned up to 38 percent less than non-ADHD comparisons.

Among other findings in the paper, it was shown that the ADHD group typically had less formal years of schooling, and this contributed to the earnings difference and the increased likelihood of living at home at age 25. “The biggest takeaway here is that ADHD does not end at age 18. Its effects last throughout the life course. We feel there is a need for programs and interventions that target the transition to adulthood and level the economic playing field for those with and without ADHD.”

Page’s paper is part of a larger study with primary investigators at FIU and the University of Pittsburgh; the University of Pittsburgh has been following a cohort of individuals with ADHD and non-ADHD controls for 20+ years. Now that most of the study participants are over age 25, the time was right to look at their outcomes as adults.

“ADHD has a prevalence in the population of 11 percent, yet there is very little research on adult outcomes of people with ADHD,” said Page, adding, “Their inferior financial outcomes cause a greater reliance on family, friends and government welfare support, which could lead to increased delinquency and substance abuse. Therefore, this is a societal problem.”

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Author: RSCPHSW

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