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Title: Socioeconomic status and its impact on the prevalence of severe ADHD in the Maltese Islands
Authors: Role, Christopher
Camilleri, Nigel
Taylor-East, Rachel
Calleja, Neville
Keywords: Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder -- Social aspects
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder -- Malta
Attention-deficit disordered adults -- Economic conditions
Attention-deficit disordered adults -- Social conditions
Issue Date: 2019-12
Publisher: University of Malta. Medical School
Citation: Role, C., Camilleri, N., Taylor-East, R., & Calleja, N. (2019). Socioeconomic status and its impact on the prevalence of severe ADHD in the Maltese Islands. Malta Medical School Gazette, 3(3), 16-25.
Abstract: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common disorder associated with hyperactivity, impulsivity and reduced attention. If left untreated this may possibly lead to various impairments in other areas, such as lack of educational attainment, increased risk of accident-prone behaviour, substance misuse and antisocial behaviours. Although the exact aetiology is still not fully understood, various studies have demonstrated the presence of both a genetic and an environmental component. ADHD is highly hereditable, demonstrating a strong genetic component. Furthermore, increased rates of ADHD have been linked with a low socioeconomic status. The islands of Malta have traditionally been divided for statistical purposes into 6 districts, with certain districts more often being associated with low socioeconomic demographics. The main aim of this study was to assess whether higher prevalence rates of ADHD were present in the districts, which are classically associated with a low socioeconomic status. All persons aged 0 to 18 years attending the governmental clinics, having a documented diagnosis of severe ADHD and therefore being prescribed pharmacotherapy were identified and included in this study. 9 youngsters were living in institutional care and were therefore excluded from the study. A significant difference (p<0.0001) in the point prevalence of ADHD between the 6 Malta districts was found, with higher rates of ADHD occurring in the harbour districts. Though not statistically significant, a positive correlation was demonstrated between the ADHD prevalence and a number of socioeconomic variables, these included; the rate of smoking (p=0.111), number of people classified as at-risk-of-poverty per district (p=0.397), and number of people with no schooling per district (p=0.156). The overall point prevalence for ADHD in Malta obtained was 0.85, a value which is less than the average prevalence noted worldwide. The authors believe this value is an underestimation since the data collection in this study did not include ADHD cases off pharmacological treatment and any ADHD cases assessed and treated in the private sector.
Appears in Collections:MMSG, Volume 3, Issue 3
MMSG, Volume 3, Issue 3
Scholarly Works - FacM&SPH
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