OBJECTIVE To review research on pre-, peri-, and postnatal stress and their potential relation to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). METHOD We selected and critically reviewed 51 research reports from the medical and psychology literature, between January 1, 1976 and May 1, 2001, based on the subjects of pre-, peri-, or postnatal stress and ADHD. RESULTS Children with ADHD show higher percentages of pre-, peri-, or postnatal insult, compared with unaffected children; however, the relative influence of various factors is still controversial. CONCLUSIONS The etiology of ADHD encompasses genetic and environmental factors. Pre-, peri-, and postnatal stressors are environmental factors that may play a role in its etiology. Future research should carefully examine interactions between genetic predisposition and environmental factors as etiologies of ADHD.