HealthDay News — Children of parents reporting intimate-partner violence (IPV) and depressive symptoms within the first three years of a child’s life are significantly more likely to have a diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, researchers report.

Nerissa S. Bauer, MD, MPH, from Indiana University in Indianapolis, and colleagues analyzed data from 2,422 children participating in a prospective cohort study that linked parental IPV and depression with subsequent billing and pharmacy data from Nov. 1, 2004, to June 7, 2012. The results were published in JAMA Pediatrics.

The researchers found that, before children were aged 3 years, 2.4%, 2.8%, and 29.1%, respectively, of caregivers reported IPV and depressive symptoms, IPV only, and depressive symptoms only, whereas 65.7% reported neither exposure.

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There was a significantly increased likelihood of a child having an ADHD diagnosis (adjusted odds ratio, 4.0) if their parents reported both IPV and depressive symptoms, even after adjustment for the child’s sex, race/ethnicity, and insurance type. There was also an increased likelihood for a child to have been prescribed psychotropic medication if their parents reported depressive symptoms (adjusted OR, 1.9).

“Exposure to both IPV and depression before age 3 years is associated with preschool-aged onset of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; early exposure to parental depression is associated with being prescribed psychotropic medication,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Bauer NS et al. JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167(4):341-347.