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The economic burden of adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: A sibling comparison cost analysis

Daley, D.; Jacobsen, R.H.; Lange, A.-M.; Sørensen, A.; Walldorf, J.


Professor of Psychological Intervention and Behaviour Change

R.H. Jacobsen

A.-M. Lange

A. Sørensen

J. Walldorf


Aim: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a lifespan disorder associated with considerable economic cost. While the economic burden of ADHD has been widely estimated, there is considerable variation in reported costs between studies, which typically focus on health outcomes only, lack adequate control and fail to correct for the influence of genetic and shared environmental factors. The aim of this study is to overcome these limitations to reach a fuller understanding of the economic burden of ADHD.
Method: Using the Danish National Registers 5269 adults with a diagnosis of ADHD in adulthood who had not received a diagnosis in childhood were identified. Excluding cases with missing data, comorbid diagnoses, and cases without a same sex sibling free of any diagnosed psychiatric diagnoses, a final cohort was formed consisting of 460 sibling dyads. Using a cross-sectional method focusing on the year 2010, cost differences between each adult with ADHD and their sibling were calculated from data retrieved from health, education, crime, employment and social care registers.
Results: Adults with ADHD had considerably lower disposable income and paid less tax than their siblings. They also received more state benefits, had higher costs for health, social care, and crime than their siblings. The total average costs difference for the year 2010 was 20,134 euros more than their sibling for each adult with ADHD.
Conclusion: ADHD is associated with considerable costs which are borne by both the individual and the state and underlines the need to consider the wider economic impact of ADHD beyond income and healthcare utilisation costs.


Daley, D., Jacobsen, R., Lange, A., Sørensen, A., & Walldorf, J. (2019). The economic burden of adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: A sibling comparison cost analysis. European Psychiatry, 61, 41-48.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 28, 2019
Online Publication Date Jul 6, 2019
Publication Date 2019-09
Deposit Date Jul 1, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jul 7, 2020
Journal European Psychiatry
Print ISSN 0924-9338
Electronic ISSN 1778-3585
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 61
Pages 41-48
Keywords Psychiatry and Mental health
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