Prevalence of ADHD in a sample of Italian students: A population-based study

Rio Bianchini, Valentina Postorino, Rita Grasso, Bartolo Santoro, Salvatore Migliore, Corrado Burlò, Carmela Tata, Luigi Mazzone

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Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common diagnosis for children and adolescents, although the reported estimates for prevalence are extremely variable worldwide. In the present work we investigate the prevalence of ADHD in a sample of Italian students in a study divided in two phases. In Phase I, a total of 6183 schoolchildren (3178 males and 3005 females, aged range 5-15 years) were screened using the SDAI rating scale for teachers. In Phase II, the parents of children and adolescents who met high screen criteria according to SDAI (cut-off. >. 14; n=. 471, 7.3%) were invited to complete a specific clinical-diagnostic assessment for ADHD with the help of an experienced clinician. Within the entire sample, 107 children dropped out and 12 had mental retardation, whereas 332 subjects (278 males and 54 females, age range 5-14 years) completed the Phase II of the study. One hundred ninety subjects (163 males and 27 females, male: female ratio 6:1, mean age 8 years) were diagnosed with ADHD, indicating a prevalence of 3%. ADHD subtypes included the following: combined (. n=. 108; 56.8%), inattentive (. n=. 48; 25.2%) and hyperactive/impulsive (. n=. 33; 17.3%).Our findings are in line with other reports of ADHD prevalence in the European Countries, and may contribute to underline the impact of this phenomenon in the population, and the need of achieving an improvement in the quality of the public health mental service for the prevention and treatment of ADHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2543-2550
Number of pages8
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013


  • Adolescents
  • Attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity
  • Children
  • Epidemiology
  • Prevalence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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