Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can present differently in girls and boys. We have outlined some of these differences from research.
Girls may be more likely to:
Experience more internalizing symptoms (e.g., heightened anxiety, hyperactivity which is internalised and can lead to day dreaming)
Show less directly observable symptoms
Have lower self-esteem
Show more inattention
Boys may be more likely to:
Experience more externalising symptoms (e.g., hyperactivity, impulsivity)
Show more behaviours that are overtly disruptive
Be referred for an ADHD assessment by classroom staff because of disruptive behaviours
Skogli, E. W., Teicher, M. H., Andersen, P. N., Hovik, K. T., & Øie, M. (2013). ADHD in girls and boys–gender differences in co-existing symptoms and executive function measures. BMC psychiatry, 13(1), 1-12.
Grskovic, J. A., & Zentall, S. S. (2010). Understanding ADHD in Girls: Identification and Social Characteristics. International journal of special education, 25(1), 171-184.
Mowlem, F., Agnew-Blais, J., Taylor, E., & Asherson, P. (2019). Do different factors influence whether girls versus boys meet ADHD diagnostic criteria? Sex differences among children with high ADHD symptoms. Psychiatry research, 272, 765-773.
Rucklidge, J. J. (2008). Gender differences in ADHD: implications for psychosocial treatments. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 8(4), 643-655.