Vol. 12, No. 3, 2006 Page 1


It's well established that boys with ADHD are at increased risk of developing adult antisocial behavior and addictive, mood, or anxiety disorders (see related articles on this page and in Crime Times, 2006, Vol. 12, No. 2, Page 1). But little is known about the adult outcomes of girls with ADHD, because the disorder is much less common in girls than in boys. A new study, however, indicates that girls with ADHD often grow up to be troubled teens.

Stephen Hinshaw and colleagues recently performed a follow-up evaluation of 209 girls with or without ADHD. All of the girls initially were recruited for a study five years earlier. At the time of the follow-up, the girls ranged in age from 11 to 18.

The researchers report that while many ADHD girls improved, and nearly one-third no longer qualified for the diagnosis, the girls with ADHD continued to show a greater number of externalizing ("acting-out") behaviors and had significant deficits in areas including social skills, peer relations, and academic performance. About four-fifths of the ADHD girls had required social services such as special education, tutoring, or psychotherapy, compared to only one-seventh of the comparison girls. Half of the ADHD girls exhibited oppositional defiant disorder, compared to only 7% of the control group. Rates of conduct disorder were also higher (18% vs. 1%) in girls with "combined" ADHD (a subgroup of ADHD involving hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention) than in controls.

Hinshaw, who called the results "surprising and discouraging," told the Washington Post that the findings are clear evidence that for girls as well as boys, "This is not a short-term disorder."


"Prospective follow-up of girls with attention- deficit/hyperactivity disorder into adolescence: evidence for continuing cross-domain impairment," Stephen P. Hinshaw, Elizabeth B. Owens, Nilofar Sami, and Samantha Fargeon, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 74, No. 3, 2006, 489-99. Address: Stephen Hinshaw, Department of Psychology, Tolman Hall #1650, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1650, Hinshaw@berkeley.edu.

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"At last, attention shifts to girls: Symptoms may differ, but ADHD risks are as real as for boys, study finds," Sandra G. Boodman, Washington Post, July 11, 2006.

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