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Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (Adhd) And Gender: Why Are Girls Less Diagnosed Than Boys?

2073 words - 8 pages

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. 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.To begin with, ADHD 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).I am interested in this topic because I worked with children at a school in my hometown, and there was this one little girl that used to go to the public school, but she got kicked out, but she still came to the after school program and it was interesting to see how the other children treated her. The one variable that I am most interested in for this study is how the label of having ADHD effects girls as opposed to boys. This topic is relevant to developmental 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.Most of my research focused on how gender and society play into the diagnosis of ADHD more in boys than in girls. I was looking into if society has conditioned us to see girls as more calm and they are supposed to sit still and not do much in general and boys as more active and aggressive. It was not hard to find much literature on this topic.One article that I found was by Greene et. al.(2001) where they looked at how girls with ADHD are perceived socially. The data was gathered through psychiatric interviews with the mothers and some of the children. If the child was under 12 then they were not interviewed. Besides the interviews there were...

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