Societal Disruptions And Child Mental Health: Evidence From ADHD Diagnosis During The COVID-19 Pandemic
We study how the societal disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic impacted diagnosis of a prevalent childhood mental health condition, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Using both nationwide private health insurance claims and a single state’s comprehensive electronic health records, we compare children exposed to the pandemic to same aged children prior to the pandemic. We find the pandemic reduced new ADHD diagnoses by 8.6% among boys and 11.0% among girls nationwide through February 2021. We further show that higher levels of in-person schooling in Fall 2020 dampened the decline for girls but had no moderating effect for boys.
We would like to thank Lauren Jones, Martin Anderson, Tony LoSasso, Bill Brinkman, and the participants of the American Society of Health Economists conference, Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management conference, Mid-Midwest Applied Microeconomics Workshop, and the special issue conference hosted by the Center for Health and Wellbeing at Princeton for valuable comments and suggestions. We also thank the Regenstrief Institute for facilitating access to data from the Indiana Network for Patient Care. The views here do not represent those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago or the Federal Reserve System. All errors are our own. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.