AD/HD-Related Problems Less Obvious in Girls?

Female adolescents wtih AD/HD often don't present as many visible symptoms as do boys. As a result, their AD/HD-related problems may not be as obvious.

Sunday October 1st - 12:14pm

New research suggests that girls with AD/HD — like their male counterparts — had higher rates of emotional problems, academic difficulties, and substance abuse than girls without the disorder. However, these problems may not be as obvious in girls as they are in boys.

Following more than 200 girls during elementary school and high school, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley documented numerous problems relating to emotional regulation and school performance among the girls with AD/HD. Though hyperactive behavior had often subsided by the time they reached middle or high school, by then the girls with AD/HD had fallen behind academically and socially, and were engaging in risky behaviors more frequently, than their peers without the disorder.

"As girls with AD/HD mature into adolescence, on average, they don’t present as many visible symptoms of the condition, especially the most noticeable one — hyperactive behavior," said the study's lead author, Stephen Hinshaw, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the university. “But we can’t get fooled into thinking things are fine. Delinquent and depressed behaviors, risk for substance abuse, symptoms of eating disorders, high need for services, difficulties with peers—these problems hit girls with AD/HD harder than they did for the comparison group without the condition.”

The study was published in the June 2006 issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

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