What behavioral, social, and family history inquiries should be made in the evaluation of pediatric attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

Updated: Sep 09, 2021
  • Author: Maggie A Wilkes, MD; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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Inquire about a family history of ADHD (ADD) and of the coexistent conditions listed under History of present illness.

Social history

Inquire about the following:

  • Home and family interactions consistent with ADHD (ADD)

    • Disorganization of personal space is the norm.

    • Anger or rage reactions are prevalent.

    • The child usually seems most awake in the late evening.

    • Awakening the child for school causes major problems.

    • The child is often unable to complete what appear to be developmentally appropriate chores.

    • Homework organization and completion are often a problem.

    • High activity level is noted.

    • Completion of multistep directions is difficult.

    • Losing or forgetting material or conversations is observed.

  • Problems with the legal system

    • Arrests

    • Traffic tickets

    • Motor vehicle accidents

  • School performance

    • Report cards

    • Reprimands or notes sent home

    • Homework completion and/or turning homework in on time

    • Extracurricular activities

  • Family dysfunction

    • Drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or both

    • Parent(s) with ADHD (ADD)

    • Physical abuse

    • Sexual abuse

    • Recent death of loved one or friend

    • Severe chronic illness

    • Severe financial problems

  • Social skills

    • Friendships

    • Group cohesion

    • Strengths and interests

  • Pregnancy, potential for pregnancy, or safe-sex practices

    • Previous intercourse

    • Birth control

    • Condom use

  • Work performance

    • Type of work

    • Promptness

    • Overall work performance

  • Abuse of substances by patient or his or her friends (if the patient is an adolescent)

    • Alcohol

    • Caffeine

    • Marijuana

    • Other illicit drugs

    • Snorting stimulants

    • Prescription medications

    • Tobacco (eg, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff)

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