Increased rates of methylphenidate use in children following parental divorce

Divorce can be a predictor of subsequent methylphenidate use by children of broken families, according to a University of Alberta study.

Methylphenidate is a drug commonly prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. The rapid increase in use of the drug over the past few decades has been noted in numerous countries, including Canada.

Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, a study conducted in Canada from 1994 - 2000, Dr. Lisa Strohschein examined the use of methylphenidate in 4,784 children initially in two-biological parent households. About 13% of these children experienced the divorce of their parents during the study period. The percentage of children taking methylphenidate at any time between 1994 and 2000 was 3.3% for children whose parents remained married and 6.1% for children whose parents divorced during this time period.


Contact: Lisa Strohschein
Canadian Medical Association Journal

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