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ADHD Lowers Global Productivity

May - June, 2008  |  Volume 7, Issue 3

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder lowers productivity globally and, because of its cost to business, is a good candidate for workplace screening and treatment, according to a recent study supported in part by Fogarty.

The article in the journal Occupation and Environmental Medicine, which got a lot of attention from the world's news media, found that, on average, 3.5 percent of workers interviewed reported having ADHD, which can translate into lost days of work and productivity, says co-author and grantee Dr. Ron Kessler of Harvard University Medical School.

The study found that ADHD is more common among men, less common among professionals and that on average those with the disorder miss nine more days of work a year than those who do not have it. Even while on the job, inattention was estimated to equal 22 days worth of work not done each year.

A Fogarty International Research and Collaboration Award supported the training of Elie G. Karam, a Lebanese national, in statistical analysis of the data culled from the WHO World Mental Health Survey.

Previously, ADHD has been studied mostly as a childhood condition, with adult prevalence extrapolated from the childhood figures. This study looked at adults in the workplace and found it more prevalent among those who had jobs than those who did not.

The U.S. prevalence was estimated at 4.5 percent among those who had a job. The highest rate was for France, at 6.3 percent and the lowest was Lebanon at 0.9 percent.

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. Ron de Graaf, Ronald C Kessler, John Fayyad, Margaret ten Have, Jordi Alonso, Matthias Angermeyer, Guilherme Borges, Koen Demyttenaere, Isabelle Gasquet, Giovanni de Girolamo, Josep Maria Haro, Robert Jin, Elie G Karam, Johan Ormel, and Jose Posada-Villa. Occup. Environ. Med., May 2008; doi:10.1136/oem.2007.038448. 

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