New Study Shows Use of ADHD Medications Jumps During School Year

No school, no medication.

That seems to be the trend among higher-income kids, according to a new study. Using data from 2007 and 2008, the study looked at when doctors gave out ADHD medication.

The study found that prescriptions for medication jumped about 30 percent during the school year versus the summer. And the jump in school year prescriptions was greatest among high-income families. States with greater academic pressure also saw a bigger bump in medication during the school year.

The study focused on possible links between the medication, family status and academic pressure. Family income seemed to be a big factor. Higher-income students were 36 percent more likely to take ADHD medication during school than during summer. Lower-income students were only 13 percent more likely to do so. The researchers say this occurred even when kids from high- and low-income families saw the same doctor.

According the researchers, families may be using medication to help with the demands of school. “Many parents are faced with a tough decision: Do they medicate their kids to help them manage in an increasingly demanding school environment?” said Marissa King, lead author of the study. The study was published this fall in the American Sociological Review.

The use of ADHD medication is an important issue for parents of kids with learning and thinking differences. Find out what parents are saying about ADHD medication.

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About the author

About the author

Geri Coleman Tucker is a freelance writer and editor and a former deputy managing editor for