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Research Letter |

Convergent Validity of Parent-Reported Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Diagnosis:  A Cross-Study Comparison

Susanna N. Visser, MS1; Melissa L. Danielson, MSPH1; Rebecca H. Bitsko, PhD1; Ruth Perou, PhD1; Stephen J. Blumberg, PhD2
[+] Author Affiliations
1National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
2National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hyattsville, Maryland
JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167(7):674-675. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.2364.
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Getahun et al recently published a study titled “Recent Trends in Childhood Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder”1 in which they used medical records and well-defined criteria to generate the prevalence of diagnosed attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in a large southern California administrative sample. Their study contributes important geographically based estimates of ADHD and draws conclusions about increasing ADHD prevalence within southern California. However, the authors cited our previous research2 to support a commonly held assertion that parent and teacher reports of ADHD “overestimate true prevalence.”1 To date, parent-reported ADHD diagnosis on national health surveys has not been directly validated against a clinical standard and thus needs further study before conclusions related to validity can be made. However, studies like that by Getahun and colleagues may inform the evidence base for the validity of using survey data for monitoring ADHD over time. Our research estimated that the parent-reported prevalence of ADHD for children aged 4 to 17 years in California was 6.2% (in 2007),2 which may appear high compared with the estimate by Getahun and colleagues of 4.9% among children aged 5 to 11 years in California (in 2001-2010). Herein, we replicate our previous analyses of parent-reported ADHD with a sample more comparable to the study population analyzed by Getahun and colleagues.

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Figure.
Prevalence and 95% CIs of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Among Children

Prevalence and 95% CIs of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among children by insurance status, geography, age, and data source. NSCH indicates National Survey of Children’s Health.

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