Risk Factors for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)En Español (Spanish Version)
A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop
with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your (or your child’s) likelihood of developing ADHD.
Risk factors include:
- Gender—Boys are more frequently diagnosed with ADHD than girls.
- Heredity—ADHD and similar disorders tend to run in families, suggesting there may be a genetic component. People with a parent or a sibling, especially an identical twin, with ADHD are at increased risk of developing the condition.
- Age—Symptoms typically appear in young children aged 3-6 years old.
- Factors in the pregnant mother—Smoking during pregnancy and preterm labor can increase a child's risk of ADHD.
- Premature birth
Parents' health—A child may be at a higher risk of ADHD if his parent has certain conditions, such as
Other factors that may increase the risk of ADHD include:
- Head injury
at a young age (less than two years old)
- Being born with a serious heart condition
(a genetic condition)
- Being exposed to certain pesticides
- Spending over two hours a day watching TV or playing video games when young
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Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
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http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated April 25, 2012. Accessed August 14, 2012.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at:
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/what-is-attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder.shtml. Accessed August 14, 2012.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Management. American Family Physician. Available at:
http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd.html. Accessed August 14, 2012.
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Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2008.
1/8/2010 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.dynamicmedical.com/what.php: Froehlich TE, Lanphear BP, et al. Association of tobacco and lead exposures with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
2/4/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Froehlich TE, Lanphear BP, et al. Association of tobacco and lead exposures with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
11/19/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Swing EL, Gentile DA, et al.
Television and video game exposure and the development of attention problems.
1/13/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Silva D, Colvin L, et al. Environmental risk factors by gender associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Pediatrics. 2014 Jan;133(1):e14-22.
Last Reviewed September 2014