The prevalence and effects of adult attention-deficit! hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) on the performance of workers: results from the WHO World Mental Health Survey Initiative

de Graaf, A.; Kessler, A. C.; Fayyad, J.; ten Have, M.; Alonso, J.; Angermeyer, M.; Borges, G.; Demyttenaere, K.; Gasquet, I.; de Girolamo, G.; Haro, J. M.; Jin, A.; Karam, E. G.; Ormel, J.; Posada-Villa, J.
December 2008
Occupational & Environmental Medicine;Dec2008, Vol. 65 Issue 12, p835
Academic Journal
Objectives: To estimate the prevalence and workplace consequences of adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Methods: An ADHD screen was administered to 18-44-year-old respondents in 10 national surveys in the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) Survey Initiative (n = 7075 in paid or self-employment; response rate 45.9-87.7% across countries). Blinded clinical reappraisal interviews were administered in the USA to calibrate the screen. Days out of role were measured using the WHO Disability Assessment Schedule )WHO-DAS). Questions were also asked about ADHD treatment. Results: An average of 3.5% of workers in the 10 countries were estimated to meet DSM-IV criteria for adult ADHD (inter-quartile range: 1.3-4.9%). ADHO was more common among males than females and less common among professionals than other workers. ADHD was associated with a statistically significant 22.1 annual days of excess lost role performance compared to otherwise similar respondents without ADHD. No difference in the magnitude of this effect was found by occupation, education, age, gender or partner status. This effect was most pronounced in Colombia, Italy, Lebanon and the USA. Although only a small minority of workers with ADHD ever received treatment for this condition, higher proportions were treated for comorbid mental/ substance disorders. Conclusions: ADHD is a relatively common condition among working people in the countries studied and is associated with high work impairment in these countries. This impairment, in conjunction with the low treatment rate and the availability of cost-effective therapies, suggests that ADHD would be a good candidate for targeted workplace screening and treatment programs.


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