Current Psychiatry Reports

, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 396–402 | Cite as

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in African American Youth

  • Rahn K. Bailey
  • Shahid Ali
  • Shagufta Jabeen
  • Hilary Akpudo
  • Jaymie U. Avenido
  • Theresa Bailey
  • Jessica Lyons
  • Amelia A. Whitehead


This article examines attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in African American youth. Tackling the myths and misinformation surrounding ADHD in the African American community can be one of the most difficult issues in mental illness circles. There is a lot of conflicting information about how African Americans are diagnosed, examined, and treated. This article clarifies some of the misconceptions and offers some comprehensibility to the issue of ADHD in African American youth. The incidence of ADHD is probably similar in African Americans and Caucasians. However, fewer African Americans are diagnosed with and treated for ADHD. That reality flies in the face of some perceptions in many African American communities. Reasons for this disparity have not been fully clarified and are most likely complex and numerous. Some barriers to treatment are driven by the beliefs of patients and their families, while others are the result of limitations in the health care system. Patient-driven obstacles to care include inadequate knowledge of symptoms, treatment, and consequences of untreated ADHD and fear of overdiagnosis and misdiagnosis. System-driven limitations include a lack of culturally competent health care providers, stereotyping or biases, and failure of clinicians to evaluate the child in multiple settings before diagnosis.


African American African American parent African American youth Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder Ethnicity Ethnic differences Race Stigma Cultural differences Barriers 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rahn K. Bailey
    • 1
  • Shahid Ali
    • 1
  • Shagufta Jabeen
    • 1
  • Hilary Akpudo
    • 1
  • Jaymie U. Avenido
    • 1
  • Theresa Bailey
    • 1
  • Jessica Lyons
    • 1
  • Amelia A. Whitehead
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Lloyd C. Elam Mental Health CenterMeharry Medical CollegeNashvilleUSA

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