Are Parents of AD/HD Children More Susceptible to Environmental Exposures Than Controls?

EPA Grant Number: U916233
Title: Are Parents of AD/HD Children More Susceptible to Environmental Exposures Than Controls?
Investigators: Heilbrun, Lynne D.
Institution: The University of Texas at San Antonio
EPA Project Officer: Michaud, Jayne
Project Period: January 1, 2003 through January 1, 2006
Project Amount: $89,237
RFA: Minority Academic Institutions (MAI) Fellowships for Graduate Environmental Study (2003) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Environmental Science


The objective of this research project is to investigate correlations between children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) and parental chemical sensitivity. The degree of sensitivity in each parent and the frequency of AD/HD in their children will be evaluated because there is an alarming rise in the number of children diagnosed with learning and behavioral disabilities (LD/BD). Researchers agree that environmental neurotoxins are one of the four etiological factors responsible for these disabilities. It is, therefore, imperative that the underlying risk factors be identified and addressed to prevent the proliferation of new cases. The rise in incidence has been so significant that many health professionals refer to it as "epidemic" in proportion.


The Quick Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (QEESI©) will be used to evaluate chemical sensitivity. Additionally, participants will be given a parent/child environmental exposure history. Both the QEESI© and the exposure history will be administered to two sets of parents: those who have children diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD)/ADHD and controls (those whose children do not have ADD/ADHD. Parents of ADD/ADHD children will be asked to identify and recruit another couple whose child is close to the same age, but who does not have ADD/ADHD. Participants will be recruited through national organizations concerned with AD/HD. These organizations will be asked to sponsor the study by featuring it in an article in their newsletter, or on their home page on the Internet. Links to a secure Web site containing both the QEESI© and the exposure history will be provided within the article. Cronbach's alpha reliability coefficients for the QEESI©'s four scales will be calculated to evaluate internal consistency. Pearson correlations will be used to evaluate construct validity. Further statistical analysis will help to evaluate the correlations within the groups and between the two groups.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, Quick Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory, QEESI, attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADD, ADHD, ADD/ADHD, Chronbach's alpha reliability coefficient, parental chemical sensitivity, learning disabilities, behavioral disabilities, LD/BD.

Relevant Websites:

2004 STAR Graduate Fellowship Conference Poster (PDF, 1p., 170KB, about PDF)

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2003
  • 2004
  • Final