Teens With ADHD Do Not Report Worse Quality of Life

But teens with ADHD more likely to have other negative outcomes, such as self-harm, compared with teens without ADHD

MONDAY, Oct. 17, 2022 (HealthDay News) — A diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) does not appear to lower overall self-reported quality of life (QOL) among adolescents (aged 14 to 15 years), according to a study published online Oct. 13 in JAMA Network Open.

Luise Kazda, M.P.H., from the Sydney School of Public Health at the University of Sydney, and colleagues compared QOL in 393 matched adolescents with and without an ADHD diagnosis.

The researchers found that compared with adolescents without an ADHD diagnosis, those with ADHD reported similar QOL on the Child Health Utility 9D, general health, happiness, and peer trust. However, psychological sense of school membership, academic self-concept, and self-efficacy were worse for adolescents with an ADHD diagnosis. Adolescents with ADHD also displayed more negative social behaviors and were more likely to harm themselves (odds ratio, 2.53) versus adolescents without an ADHD diagnosis.

“Unfortunately, our results indicate no beneficial associations of an ADHD diagnosis with adolescents’ QOL, which is highly concerning,” the authors write. “It implies that the harms associated with an ADHD label (such as stigma, prejudice, deflection from other problems, or the perceived inability to change) may not be offset by benefits associated with the diagnosis or treatment.”

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