But risk may be particularly attractive to teens with ADHD. As teens grow into their 20s, a serious relationship can have a calming effect, Meyer says. “One of the problems that many of the parents have is that they feel. Beginning in childhood and adolescence, ADHD is associated with risk behaviors that contribute to chronic health problems, including. Not every adult with ADHD has risky behavior, but many do. For some people with ADHD, problems may be as minor as showing up late to meetings. friendships and romantic relationships; Speeding and dangerous.
ADHD-associated risk taking is linked to exaggerated views of the benefits of positive outcomes
Low engagement in school and positive activities, combined with decreased parental involvement, can increase exposure to negative peer groups and risky situations. These two pathways by which ADHD influences health risks—through neurocognitive deficits and increased environmental adversity—highlight potential targets for prevention and health promotion.
Treating ADHD symptoms and executive dysfunction, for example with stimulant medication, may thereby help to reduce ensuing risk behaviors.S2 Ep 48: Young Adults, Risky Behavior & ADHD
Alternatively, strengthening social and environmental factors associated with resilience, such as academic engagement and effective parenting, may also promote healthy behavior. What We Do Not Know: Several key unanswered questions could help meaningfully guide further research in this area.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and High Risk Behaviors
Surprisingly few studies have examined the impact of ADHD treatment specifically on health risk behaviors. We are unaware of studies of stimulant treatment effects on disordered eating in youth. Health outcome measures should be systematically included in ADHD treatment studies to determine whether treating ADHD mitigates health risks, or whether additional approaches are needed.
Health promotion programs can use an approach that is universal targeting entire populationsselected targeting individuals with environmentally-based risksor indicated targeting individuals with person-level risk-factors, such as ADHD. We are unaware of indicated prevention or health promotion programs specifically designed for ADHD youth.
Presumably, these youth participate in existing universal and selected interventions, but ADHD has not been examined as a moderator of these program outcomes. Moving forward, researchers who evaluate the efficacy of such programs should examine differential outcomes for ADHD youth and assess the need for program adaptations to engage this population.
When Should We Intervene?
Disordered eating may be identified in childhood; substance use and sexual risk behaviors generally emerge in adolescence. High-risk youth may be identified on the basis of ADHD diagnosis, but genetic, neurobiological, or behavioral risk markers may be evident even before full ADHD diagnostic criteria are met. What We Do Know: Implications for Clinicians Psychologists, physicians, and other clinicians in medical settings are well situated to identify children at risk for chronic health problems and implement strategies to promote health.
These findings highlight the idea that people with high level ADHD symptoms tend to engage in risky behaviors because they find such behavior particularly appealing, rather than because they seek risk per se.
- Health Risk Behaviors and ADHD
Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, characterized by a persistent pattern of inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive behavior, interfering with educational, social and occupational functioning 12. Individuals diagnosed with ADHD tend to engage deliberately in behaviors that place them at risk for negative outcomes 3 including smoking 4substance abuse 567dangerous driving 8gambling 9 and unprotected sex The present study takes the perspective of a behavioral economics 1112 in an attempt to understand the mental processes that might account for risk taking in ADHD.
Behavioral economic approaches see the individual as an active agent who makes preferences based on calculation of the expected utility of the available alternatives. According to the normative expected utility framework, the expected value of a risky alternative comprises its subjective potential payoff weighted by its probability.
A rational decision maker should calculate the expected value of each available alternative and consistently choose the one with the highest expected value.
Perceived benefit often elicits attraction, whereas perceived risk evokes repulsion. However, the extent of attraction and repulsion differs across people; sometimes perceived risk may be intrinsically attractive e. These approaches are captured in Weber et al.
Measures of perceptions of benefit and risk are based on self-reports, whereas the attitudes towards benefit and risk are calculated by regressing risk taking behavior on risk perception and benefit perception separately for each individual, and calculating the respective coefficients. The distinction between perception and attitude is crucial for understanding human decision-making according to Weber et al. Studies have indeed shown systematic individual, group, and cultural differences in perceptions of risks and benefits 1415 Attitudes towards perceived risk are less affected by context, but they still vary across domains To date the role of risk and benefit perceptions of risk-taking behavior in ADHD has not been studied from this BDT perspective, which distinguishes between perceptions and attitudes.