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ADHD May Help Predict Adults' Car Crash Risk
  • Robert Preidt
  • Posted August 27, 2020

ADHD May Help Predict Adults' Car Crash Risk

Young adults who've had attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) since childhood are at increased risk for road crashes, researchers say.

But there is no increased risk for those whose ADHD symptoms have decreased, according to the study published online recently in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

For the study, the researchers analyzed data from 441 children with ADHD and 231 children without ADHD. They were followed from age 7 to 25 as part of a study that involved six centers in the United States and one in Canada.

The investigators looked at participants' ADHD symptoms and driving records, as well as other health conditions. The other conditions included oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and substance use during childhood and into adulthood.

Young adults with and without a history of ADHD got driving licenses at similar ages and at similar rates, the findings showed.

Compared with people with no history of ADHD, the rate of car crashes was 1.45 times higher for adults who had a history of childhood ADHD, and 1.81 times higher for those with continuing symptoms.

However, crash rates were the same among adults who never had ADHD and those whose ADHD symptoms remitted.

"Extant research shows that ADHD is associated with more traffic violations, speeding violations, license suspensions and risky driving behaviors," said study lead author Arunima Roy, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada.

Roy noted in a journal news release that the likelihood of risky driving increases when childhood ADHD persists into adulthood.

"Prior research from our group as well as by others also shows that, aside from driving behaviors, a persistence of ADHD into adulthood can impair functioning in other domains," Roy said. "These domains can include occupational performance, educational attainment, emotional functioning, substance use and justice involvement."

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more on ADHD.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, news release, Aug. 18, 2020
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