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Family Spillover Effects of Marginal Diagnoses: The Case of ADHD

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  • Persson, Petra

    (Stanford University)

  • Qiu, Xinyao

    (Stanford University)

  • Rossin-Slater, Maya

    (Stanford University)

Abstract

The health care system commonly relies on information about family medical history in the allocation of screenings and in diagnostic processes. At the same time, an emerging literature documents that treatment for "marginally diagnosed" patients often has minimal impacts. This paper shows that reliance on information about relatives' health can perpetuate marginal diagnoses across family members, thereby raising caseloads and health care costs, but without improving patient well-being. We study Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), the most common childhood mental health condition, and document that the younger siblings and cousins of marginally diagnosed children are also more likely to be diagnosed with and treated for ADHD. Moreover, we find that the younger relatives of marginally diagnosed children have no better adult human capital and economic outcomes than the younger relatives of those who are less likely to be diagnosed. Our analysis points to a simple adjustment to physician protocol that can mitigate these marginal diagnosis spillovers.

Suggested Citation

  • Persson, Petra & Qiu, Xinyao & Rossin-Slater, Maya, 2021. "Family Spillover Effects of Marginal Diagnoses: The Case of ADHD," IZA Discussion Papers 14020, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp14020
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    Cited by:

    1. Seth M. Freedman & Kelli R. Marquardt & Dario Salcedo & Kosali I. Simon & Coady Wing, 2023. "Societal Disruptions And Child Mental Health: Evidence From ADHD Diagnosis During The COVID-19 Pandemic," NBER Working Papers 30909, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. David N. Figlio & Krzysztof Karbownik & Umut Özek, 2023. "Sibling Spillovers May Enhance the Efficacy of Targeted School Policies," NBER Working Papers 31406, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Gordon B. Dahl & Dan-Olof Rooth & Anders Stenberg, 2020. "Intergenerational and Sibling Spillovers in High School Majors," NBER Working Papers 27618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jill Furzer & Elizabeth Dhuey & Audrey Laporte, 2022. "ADHD misdiagnosis: Causes and mitigators," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(9), pages 1926-1953, September.
    5. Bertoni, M.; & Marin-Lopez, B.A.; & Sanz-de-Galdeano, A.;, 2023. "Subjective Gender-Based Patterns in ADHD Diagnosis," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 23/17, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    ADHD; targeting; marginal diagnosis; mental health; family spillovers;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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