Gender-Related Clinical Characteristics in Children and Adolescents with ADHD

J Clin Med. 2022 Jan 13;11(2):385. doi: 10.3390/jcm11020385.


Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most frequently diagnosed neurodevelopmental disorder in school-age children, and it is usually associated with a significant impairment in global functioning. Traditionally, boys with ADHD are more likely to be referred for clinical assessments due to a higher prevalence of externalizing symptoms. However, as regards gender-related differential clinical characteristics between boys and girls with ADHD, further investigation is warranted in light of conflicting results found in currently available literature. In fact, a more precise clinical characterization could help increase appropriate diagnoses and treatment planning. In this context, we carried out a retrospective observational study on 715 children and adolescents diagnosed with ADHD from 2018 to 2020 at our center, in order to describe their gender-related clinical characteristics. Boys displayed higher average IQs, but they were comparable to girls in functional impairments and adaptive skills. Girls displayed higher scores on the Attention Problems subscale of the CBCL 6-18 and on several CPRS-R:L subscales, suggesting higher general ADHD symptom severity. Boys showed higher scores on CBCL 6-18 subscales, such as withdrawn/depressed, internalizing, and obsessive-compulsive problems. In conclusion, girls showed more severe ADHD features and lower IQ in clinically referred settings, while boys showed more internalizing problems and obsessive-compulsive symptoms.

Keywords: ADHD; CBCL; CPRS; boys; characteristics; gender; girls.