Parental Depression Affects Behavior of ADHD Children
> 4/13/2007 1:26:06 PM

Researchers at the University of Maryland involved in a long-term study of children with ADHD have found that the mental health of a child's mother is an important factor in determining his or her later behavioral tendencies. The study followed more than one hundred ADHD patients starting at the ages of four to seven and continuing with yearly updates until the age of eighteen.

One of the major problems posed by ADHD is the pronounced tendency toward bad conduct that has been repeatedly observed among its patients. Previous studies have noted that children with ADHD are more likely to develop disruptive and anti-social patterns of behavior as they age, particularly if they display signs of such a disposition in early childhood. Estimates posit that 20-50 percent of children and 44-50 percent of adolescents with ADHD will eventually "experience severe conduct problems". The new study focuses on the mental health of the mothers of these children, specifically because they are more often the primary caregivers and  women are generally more likely to suffer from depression than men.

Many online resources exist for parents of ADHD kids, but the condition often makes upbringing considerably more difficult. The frustrations and constant attention required to raise a child who repeatedly misbehaves can be too much for some parents, who in turn unleash their own negativity on their children, further encouraging conduct problems at school, at home and in public. Of course, the children themselves show a higher incidence of depression than that found among the general population. They are also more likely to engage in criminal behavior as adults. As lead researcher Andrea Chronis states, "In the real world, this could have important implications, because research has suggested that children with both ADHD and conduct problems are at the greatest risk of becoming chronic criminal offenders."

While much of this study can be deduced without statistics, it may serve to reinforce the idea that depressed parents or those who believe they might be depressed should seriously consider seeking treatment - for the benefit of their children if for no other reason.

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