Another Study Links Education Policies With ADHD Diagnosis Rates


Public school accountability requirements initiated by the No Child Left Behind Act are associated with significant increases in diagnoses of ADHD among poorer children, reported a study in Psychiatric Services in Advance. Conversely, where states have legally restricted uses of psychotropic medications, ADHD diagnoses have dropped.

University of California, Berkeley-led researchers analyzed data on public school children aged 6 to 13 from the National Survey of Children’s Health between 2003 and 2011.

“From 2003 to 2007, public school children from low-income households residing in states first experiencing consequential accountability under NCLB (No Child Left Behind) showed an increase in adjusted ADHD diagnostic prevalence of 56% compared with an increase of 19% of demographically similar children residing in states that had consequential accountability prior to NCLB,” reported Psychiatric News. Other studies have identified similar trends.

In contrast, reported Psychiatric News, “From 2003 to 2011, states with psychotropic drug-monitoring laws saw ADHD diagnostic prevalence decrease by 4% in contrast to the 23% increase in states without such laws.”

“Future research should investigate whether children most affected by these policies are receiving appropriate diagnoses,” commented the researchers.

Fulton, Brent D., Richard M. Scheffler, and Stephen P. Hinshaw. “State Variation in Increased ADHD Prevalence: Links to NCLB School Accountability and State Medication Laws.” Psychiatric Services, June 1, 2015, doi:10.1176/ (Abstract)

Study Tracks How State Education-Related Policies Affect ADHD Diagnoses (Psychiatric News Alert, June 4, 2015)


  1. “Future research should investigate whether children most affected by these policies are receiving appropriate diagnoses,”

    I can spare you time and money and answer: “no they don’t”. It’s obvious and it’s only the prevalent mindset that whenever the studies show something that doesn’t agree with it they are explained away in the most convoluted way or dismissed with “we need more studies since this is sooo strange”.

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  2. ?Similar thing……. In Australia, my daughter has three children diagnosed as autistic…It suits her because she gets exxtra payments, and benefits for her three boys….. It suits the school as the school gets extra funding for more teachers and resources for each diagnosed autistic child.
    In my opinion, no, none of them are autistic…. and none are medicated. So what does it matter, the labels get the school more funding, and the parents more benefits.

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    • The same thing is going on in the US with the insane “no child left” system. It’s dumb, the psychiatric industry is labeling all the brilliant middle income children with so called autism, I didn’t realize this until I volunteered to help tutor these gifted children.

      And I, myself, ended up having to send my “gifted” children to a private school by high school because by eigth grade, a school social worker tried to convince all my children’s teacher’s a child who got 100% on his state standardized tests, and who was well behaved, was mentally ill.

      We have a problem with the unethical currently in charge of humanity wanting to maintain control, rather than allowing the brilliant and ethical within humanity to take control.

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