According to a new survey released today, nearly 50 percent of mothers of tween girls who have been diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) reported that they had first attributed their daughters' behavior to "normal" adolescent struggles, and 59 percent reported that they initially hesitated to seek help from a doctor for their daughter. Additionally, 60 percent said they wish they had recognized the symptoms of ADHD earlier and acted sooner.
These findings are part of a nationally representative, multi-arm survey examining awareness, perceptions and attitudes about ADHD among mothers of tween girls ages eight to fourteen, as well as teachers and physicians. The survey, conducted online in July 2014, was designed by Edelman Berland and fielded by Harris Interactive, a Nielsen company, on behalf of Shire Pharmaceuticals (LSE: SHP, NASDAQ: SHPG).
Among mothers of tween girls in general, more than one-third (36 percent) believe one must display hyperactive-impulsive symptoms to be diagnosed with ADHD. To be diagnosed with ADHD, a person must have a certain number of inattentive and/or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms, in addition to meeting other requirements. Only a qualified health care professional can diagnose ADHD.
"Symptoms of ADHD may not be as noticeable in girls because girls are more likely than boys to display inattentiveness rather than the hyperactivity and impulsivity most people associate with the disorder. All too often their mothers and fathers chalk it up to age and stage in development," said Dr. Patricia Quinn, developmental pediatrician, ADHD researcher and author.
Additional key findings from the survey included:
- 29 percent of teachers and health care professionals surveyed believe children will outgrow ADHD symptoms. Previous independent research based on parent report suggests that nearly 50% of children with ADHD may continue to meet the criteria for the disorder in adulthood
- Nearly a third of teachers (30 percent) felt that they do not know a lot about the condition
- 54 percent of adult women diagnosed with ADHD as minors wish they had been diagnosed sooner
"The results of this survey underscore how much education still needs to be done about the full range of ADHD symptoms. It is so important to tune into what's going on with our daughters as individuals and to be willing to talk to their doctors if we think something more serious could be going on," Dr. Quinn continued.
Shire recently introduced a new educational program, in partnership with leading advocacy organization Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), called keep momming™, designed to raise awareness about ADHD among mothers of tween girls. The program is anchored by a new digital hub, www.keepmomming.com, which provides tips, tools and other go-to resources for moms, including a checklist to help recognize the core symptoms of ADHD – inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity – and then encourages them to talk to the doctor if they are concerned that their daughter may have ADHD.
"Shire is committed to ongoing research in order to bring important insights, resources and support to those patients and families affected by ADHD, particularly when we recognize an unmet patient need," said Perry Sternberg, Senior Vice President, Shire Neuroscience Business Unit.