Causal modelling of variation in clinical practice and long-term outcomes of ADHD using Norwegian registry data: The ADHD controversy project
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBMJ Open. 2021, 11 (1), e041698 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-041698
Introduction Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is among the most common mental disorders in children and adolescents, and it is a strong risk factor for several adverse psychosocial outcomes over the lifespan. There are large between-country and within-country variations in diagnosis and medication rates. Due to ethical and practical considerations, a few studies have examined the effects of receiving a diagnosis, and there is a lack of research on effects of medication on long-term outcomes. Our project has four aims organised in four work packages: (WP1) To examine the prognosis of ADHD (with and without medication) compared with patients with other psychiatric diagnoses, patients in contact with public sector child and adolescent psychiatric outpatient clinics (without diagnosis) and the general population; (WP2) Examine within-country variation in ADHD diagnoses and medication rates by clinics’ catchment area; and(WP3) Identify causal effects of being diagnosed with ADHD and (WP4) ADHD medication on long-term outcomes. Method and analysis Our project links several nationwide Norwegian registries. The patient sample is all persons aged 5–18 years that were in contact with public sector child and adolescent psychiatric outpatient clinics in 2009–2011. Our comparative analysis of prognosis will be based on survival analysis and mixed-effects models. Our analysis of variation will apply mixed-effects models and generalised linear models. We have two identification strategies for the effect of being diagnosed with ADHD and of receiving medication on long-term outcomes. Both strategies rely on using preference-based instrumental variables, which in our project are based on provider preferences for ADHD diagnosis and medication. Ethics and dissemination The project is approved by the Regional Ethics Committee, Norway (REC number 2017/2150/REC south-east D). All papers will be published in open-access journals and results will be presented in national and international conferences. Trial registration numbers ISRCTN11573246 and ISRCTN11891971.