Study: Employees with ADHD Work Fewer Days Per Year

May 28, 2008
Employers may want to consider screening workers for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as new research suggests that employees with the disorder work 22 fewer days a year than other workers.

Researchers, who contributed to the study that was published online ahead of print in Occupational and Environmental Medicine and are part of a WHO research consortium at Harvard Medical School,recommended that treatment for those affected would be beneficial for both workers and employers. It also would be cost effective for business.

More than 7,000 employed and self-employed workers aged 18-44 years were screened for ADHD as part of the World Health Organization World Mental Health Survey Initiative. Those who participated in the study came from Belgium, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Lebanon, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States. Surveyed individuals were asked about their performance at work in the last month.

On average, 3.5 percent of workers had ADHD. The disorder was more prevalent in men and workers living in developed (rather than developing) countries.

People with ADHD were found to spend 22.1 more days not doing work than other employees per year. This included 8.4 days when they were unable to work or carry out their normal activities, as well as 21.7 days of reduced work quantity and 13.6 days of reduced work quality.

People who have ADHD find it difficult to concentrate because they may be hyperactive, easily distracted, forgetful or impulsive. Children with the disorder increasingly are being diagnosed because they are likely to be tested for ADHD if they have problems with their schoolwork. Many adults with ADHD, however, do not know they have the condition.

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