ADHD Diversity


A March 2022 article in ADDitude wrote of the challenges BIPOC people face in getting an ADHD diagnosis and proper treatment. According to research by Paul Morgan, PhD, African American children were 69% less likely to receive an ADHD diagnosis and Latino children 50% less likely to receive an ADHD diagnosis than white counterparts. Another study undertaken by researchers showed African American and Latino children had lower odds of having an ADHD diagnosis than white children, underscoring the widespread underdiagnosis and treatment for African American and Latino children. 

In practical terms, underdiagnosed BIPOC children are often labeled as misbehaved, troublemakers in classrooms resulting in punishments instead of support in school and at home. The failure to recognize and treat ADHD in BIPOC children and adults, connects with broader systemic inequities in healthcare for this group that we continue to address across the U.S. Research is providing data to support change within the medical field, yet cultural changes must also be made to create lasting change. 

Psycom Pro hosted a series about the impact of family and culture on ADHD diagnosis to help provide an understanding of how disparate diagnosis might occur in BIPOC children. Some reasons listed were, “fear of stigma, negative attitudes about ADHD medication, disparate tolerance levels for child behaviors, and historic mistrust of healthcare providers among some BIPOC communities.” The researchers, Stephanie Mihalas, PhD and Donna Y. Ford, PhD, suggested that teachers and medical practitioners seek to become more culturally aware of BIPOC community norms such as directness, emotional context, communication, and reaction to authority figures, as a way to understand these students and their family contexts to aid with accurate ADHD diagnosis and treatment. 

As coaches, it is important that we continue to develop our cultural competency for BIPOC communities to understand historical and present challenges in dealing with ADHD within those communities.

To learn more about bias in diagnosing and treating ADHD in BIPOC populations, here are a few websites to peruse:

Disparities in ADHD Care for BIPOC Children and Adolescents 

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment 

Study Investigates Link Between Discrimination, ADHD, Suicide 

Why Race Matters in Diagnosing and Treating ADHD 

Unconscious Bias and the Diagnosis of Disruptive Behavior Disorders and ADHD in African American and Hispanic Youth
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