A new research done by the sociologists from the University of Alberta finds that children from divorced parents are nearly twice as likely to be prescribed Ritalin than the children whose parents stay together.
The researchers examined data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth that included 4,784 children from two-biological parent households and their use of Ritalin.

About 13 % of all the children went through their parents divorce during the six years the study lasted. The percentage of children taking Ritalin at any time during the study period was 6.1 % for children whose parents divorced and 3.3 % for children whose parents remained married.

There are two potential explanations for such numbers. One is that children perceive divorce as a tragedy and that it is stressful to them and that some children may develop mental health problems. If this is the case, the children are then appropriately prescribed the drug.

The second possibility suggests that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may have a genetic component so the association between parental divorce and Ritalin use in children exists because parents themselves have personality features that make it less likely their marriages will last.

So, when children of divorced parents come to the attention of the health-care system, doctors may diagnose ADHD even if this is not the problem and prescribe Ritalin. If this is the case, then Ritalin is being inappropriately prescribed.