An examination of the appropriateness of the content of the DSM-IV AD/HD symptom criteria for elementary school girls

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Lisa DeGrass (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Arthur D. Anastopoulos

Abstract: Like many childhood disorders, prevalence rates of AD/HD differ significantly across gender, with male-to-female ratios ranging from 2:1 to 9:1 depending on the sample (APA, 1994). Limited research has been conducted thus far in an effort to better understand these differential prevalence rates. However, it has been proposed that the current symptom descriptions for AD/HD in the DSM-IV may not be fully capturing how females manifest the disorder (Ohan & Johnston, 2005). To address this theory and the existing gap in the literature, this study examined the ability of the current DSM-IV symptom items and some newly proposed gender-sensitive items (Ohan & Johnston, 2005) to predict impairment in elementary school girls. Sixty-three parents and 45 primary classroom teachers of girls ages six to eleven completed packets providing information about the girls. Primary analyses of parent data revealed that a combination of some gender-sensitive items in addition to some DSM-IV items were predictive of overall impairment in girls. However, secondary analyses of teacher data revealed that only some DSM-IV items were predictive of overall impairment. Nonetheless, these findings lend some support for the notion that although the underlying mechanisms of AD/HD may be the same for boys and girls, how this disorder is manifested may be different, and the current diagnostic criteria are not fully capturing how females express AD/HD. Implications for future research and clinical practice were discussed.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2009
ADHD, Criteria, Girls
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder $x Sex differences.
Attention-deficit-disordered children $x Diagnosis.
Girls $x Mental health.

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