ADHD from a Social Interaction Perspective

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) from a Social Interaction Perspective

Social and health research agree that socioeconomic factors are associated with mental health, yet less is known about underlying interaction mechanisms or cumulative effects over the childhood. ADHD is the most prevalent diagnosed mental health problem among school-aged children and it is characterized by problems with attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. The number of diagnosed and medically treated children has increased over the past decades and we have limited knowledge about the causes and consequences of this development.

This project addresses the social perspectives of ADHD and proposes to investigate some of the mechanisms underlying the unequal social distribution of mental health and its consequences. The project will contribute to current research by an interdisciplinary approach building on previous research and methodology from sociology, econometrics and health sciences. Using Danish register data, we first investigate and describe the variation in ADHD diagnosis and medical treatment across socioeconomic strata. Second, we investigate to what extent the association between ADHD (diagnosis or symptom scores) and family socioeconomic resources interacts with socioeconomic resources in shaping children’s academic achievement. We compare effects in early versus later school grades for various school outcomes. Third, we investigate the academic achievement measures of siblings of children with ADHD.

My previous research also includes developing and validating student well-being measures, evaluating classroom interventions using RCT designs, and studying the effect of medical ADHD treatment on student academic achievement.

The PhD is a collaborative research project between VIVE – The Danish Center for Social Science Research and Mindhood at Aarhus University.


  • Keilow, M., Holm, A., Friis-Hansen, M., & Kristensen, R. M. (2019). Effects of a Classroom Management Intervention on Student Selective Attention: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial. School Effectiveness and School Improvement Journal  
  • Keilow, M., Holm, A., & Fallesen, P. (2018). Medical Treatment of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Children’s Academic Performance. PLoS ONE, 13(11), 1-17.  
  • Niclasen, J., Keilow, M., & Obel, C. (2018). Psychometric properties of the Danish student well-being questionnaire assessed for > 250,000 student responders. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 46(8), 1-9.    
  • Pontoppidan, M., Keilow, M., Dietrichson, J., Solheim, O. J., Opheim, V., Gustafson, S., & Andersen, S. C. (2018). Randomised Controlled Trials in Scandinavian Educational Research. Educational Research, 60(3), 311-335.   


Maria Keilow, PhD student
Department of Public Health
Aarhus University



Carsten Obel
Chunsen Wu
Jens Peter Thomsen


01/04/2017 → 31/03/2020