A large Danish study found that teens with ADHD were at least twice as likely as their peers without ADHD to become parents and have more children by the age of 25.
Early teen years were especially concerning since girls with ADHD were three and a half times more likely, and boys were almost two and a half times more likely to become parents between the ages of 12-15. Even researchers, who expected increased rates, where shocked at the extent of the increase.
Researchers looked at 2,698,052 people born between 1960 and 2001 in Denmark, including 27,479 who had been diagnosed with ADHD and grouped the data into a variety of age intervals. They analyzed the likelihood of becoming a parent during age intervals of 12-16, 17-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39 and over 40. The age interval between 17 and 19 indicated at a rate at least twice as high for those with ADHD.
“It is well established that becoming a teenage parent, irrespective of your mental health status, is burdensome for both parents and children,” lead author Dr. Soren Dinesen Ostergaard, of Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark said. “It is also well known that parenting is often difficult for individuals with ADHD.” For this reason he and his colleagues suggest creating sexual education and contraceptive counseling programs tailored for adolescents with ADHD. Other experts commented that awareness of the issue and educating parents of teens with ADHD about this research was paramount.
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