Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, more commonly known as ADD or ADHD, has become much more common recently. As of 1994 the DSM-IV stated that about 3%-5% of American school aged children have this disorder. While it is quite a few children, what I find to be even more interesting are the male-to-female ratios within the disorder. They range from 4:1 to 9:1. According to Wade, Carol &Travis (2000), boys make up 80 to 90 percent of all ADHD cases. What I've looked into finding out is why there is such a gender difference. I wanted to know if it was because the way society raises girls, or are boys really at a higher risk for it.
I am interested in this topic because a male cousin of mine recently was diagnosed with this disorder. You always hear about boys having this problem. This made me think about why there arenâ<sup>TM</sup>t many girls that suffer from this. The one variable that I am most interested in for this study is how the label of having ADHD affects girls as opposed to boys. This topic is relevant to psychology because it is looking at the females social development and if it is impaired just because a label was put on her. Besides just socially, feeling that the child is different will lead to the parents, teachers, and other caregivers to treat the child differently, creating a different than normal development.
To begin with, ADHD is a disorder in which there are persistent patterns of inattention and/ or impulsivity. It is a leading cause of school failure and under-achievement. Some of the characteristics include fidgeting with hands, difficulty remaining seated, not following through on instructions, shifting from one uncompleted task to another, interrupting conversations, appearing to be not listening to what is being said, and doing things that are dangerous without thinking about the consequences.
Most scientists believe it is caused by an abnormality such as a chemical imbalance in the brain. It can be divided up into 3 different sub-categories. There are the hyperactive-impulsive type, the inattention type, and the combined type. To be diagnosed with the hyperactive-impulsive type a child needs to be seen as being very fidgety or on the go all the time, and engaging in physical activity that isn't appropriate for the setting that they are in. They also would have some signs of impulsivity that can include difficulty taking turns, interrupting people, and blurting out answers before the question is finished. Then there is the impulsivity sub-type. To be diagnosed with this, a child must show more symptoms from the impulsive list than the hyperactive ones. These, along with the ones stated before, can include seeming too not listening when spoken to and easily being distracted by extraneous stimuli. Finally, there is the combined type that, just like its name implies, this sub-type needs to meet all criteria for both hyperactive-impulsive and inattention (DSM-IV, 1994).
Most of my...