Attention on Inattention: The Differential Effect of Caregiver Education on Endorsement of ADHD Symptoms

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The impact of caregiver education level on endorsement of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms for inattention (IA) and hyperactivity-compulsivity (HA) in a sample of high-risk youths was examined. Participants were 1347 caregivers of varying educational backgrounds who completed the ADHD module of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children IV. The relationship of caregiver education to ADHD symptom endorsement was examined in three sets of analyses in which IA and HA symptoms were simultaneously regressed on caregiver years of education. Both multivariate analysis of covariance and logistic regression analyses revealed significantly lower rates of IA symptom endorsement by caregivers with less education, while there was no effect for HA symptoms. A multiple indicator multiple cause (MIMIC) model analysis also revealed that caregiver years of education was significantly positively associated with IA but not with HA symptoms, even when other demographic factors were controlled. There is a clear effect of caregiver education on ADHD symptom endorsement patterns, raising concerns that demographic factors related to symptom measurement may contribute to discrepancies in the assessment and treatment of ADHD.

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