All in the Family? A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Parenting and Family Environment as Risk Factors for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Children

Angelika H. Claussen, Joseph R. Holbrook, Helena J. Hutchins, Lara R. Robinson, Jeanette Bloomfield, Lu Meng, Rebecca H. Bitsko, Brenna O’Masta, Audrey Cerles, Brion Maher, Margaret Rush, Jennifer W. Kaminski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Parenting and family environment have significant impact on child development, including development of executive function, attention, and self-regulation, and may affect the risk of developmental disorders including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This paper examines the relationship of parenting and family environment factors with ADHD. A systematic review of the literature was conducted in 2014 and identified 52 longitudinal studies. A follow-up search in 2021 identified 7 additional articles, for a total of 59 studies that examined the association of parenting factors with ADHD outcomes: ADHD overall (diagnosis or symptoms), ADHD diagnosis specifically, or presence of the specific ADHD symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity. For parenting factors that were present in three or more studies, pooled effect sizes were calculated separately for dichotomous or continuous ADHD outcomes, accounting for each study’s conditional variance. Factors with sufficient information for analysis were parenting interaction quality (sensitivity/warmth, intrusiveness/reactivity, and negativity/harsh discipline), maltreatment (general maltreatment and physical abuse), parental relationship status (divorce, single parenting), parental incarceration, and child media exposure. All factors showed a significant direct association with ADHD outcomes, except sensitivity/warmth which had an inverse association. Parenting factors predicted diagnosis and overall symptoms as well as inattentive and hyperactive symptoms when measured, but multiple factors showed significant heterogeneity across studies. These findings support the possibility that parenting and family environment influences ADHD symptoms and may affect a child’s likelihood of being diagnosed with ADHD. Prevention strategies that support parents, such as decreasing parenting challenges and increasing access to parent training in behavior management, may improve children’s long-term developmental health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-271
Number of pages23
JournalPrevention Science
Volume25
Issue numberSuppl 2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2024

Keywords

  • ADHD
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Family environment
  • Parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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