Background In England, there is a discrepancy between the prevalence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) ascertained from medical records and community surveys. There is also a lack of data on variation in recorded prevalence by deprivation and geographical region; information that is important for service development and commissioning.
Methods Cohort study using data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink comprising 5196 children and young people aged 3–17 years with ADHD and 490 016 without, in 2012.
Results In 2012, the recorded prevalence of ADHD was 1.06% (95% CI 1.03 to 1.09). Prevalence in the most deprived areas was double that of the least deprived areas (prevalence rate ratio 2.58 (95% CI 2.36 to 2.83)), with a linear trend from least to most deprived areas across all regions in England.
Conclusions The low prevalence of ADHD in medical records may indicate considerable underdiagnosis. Higher rates in more disadvantaged areas indicate greater need for services in those areas.
- child psychiatry
- comm child health
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Contributors VP: conceived the idea for the study, conducted the data management, analysis and interpretation, drafted the initial manuscript and approved the final manuscript as submitted. DK: conceived the idea for the study, provided clinical input and interpretation throughout the project, critically reviewed and approved the final manuscript as submitted. KS: made contributions to the design of the study, provided clinical input and interpretation throughout the project, critically reviewed and approved the final draft of the manuscript. JW: conceived the idea for the study, guided the data management and analysis, provided clinical input and interpretation throughout the project, critically reviewed and approved the final draft of the manuscript.
Funding This study was supported by a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) grant, DRF- 2011-04-116.
Disclaimer The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.
Competing interests VP reported having received research grant support administered via the University of Nottingham from the NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship scheme. During the period of the NIHR award for VP, JW was supported by a University of Nottingham/Nottingham University Hospitals National Health Service (NHS) Senior Clinical Research Fellowship.
Patient consent Not required.
Ethics approval Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) independent scientific advisory committee (protocol reference 12_128R).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data sharing statement All data are available by application to the Clinical Practice Research Datalink. Further information is available on their website: https://www.cprd.com/intro.asp.