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Increased Risk of ADHD and ODD in Adopted Teens

A recent study has found that adolescents adopted as infants or toddlers have a slightly higher chance of receiving an ADHD or ODD diagnosis.

Dr. Margaret Keyes, of the University of Minnesota, led a study recently published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine which looked at 692 teenagers who were adopted before age 2, and a comparison group of non-adopted adolescents.

Dr. Keyes and her team tested the youths around age 15 for the presence of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), depression, and anxiety.

Overall, the researchers found that most of the teens studied were psychologically healthy. Further, there were no differences between the groups in the number of teens affected by depression or anxiety, or the number involved in serious delinquency.

Adopted teens, however, were at a slightly increased risk for ADHD and ODD.

Keyes and her team also found that adoptive parents were more likely than the comparison group to seek help from mental health professionals when faced with behavioral problems. This adds to research by Dr. David Brodzinsky, a leading adoption researcher, who has found evidence that adoptive parents are often more motivated to be good parents, wealthier, and better educated than parents who do not adopt.

Brodzinsky commented on Keyes' research by stating that the results were not surprising, and most likely had more to do with pre-adoption factors, like drug or alcohol exposure in utero, poor maternal health, and genetic factors, than the fact of being adopted in itself.

Another, more perplexing finding of Keyes' study was that children adopted internationally had a slightly lower risk than those adopted in the U.S.

To read the full study, go to The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

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Source: Increased Risk of ADHD and ODD in Adopted Teens