The neurobiological profile of girls with ADHD

E. Mark Mahone, Ericka L. Wodka

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Since boys are more commonly diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) than girls, the majority of theories and published research studies of ADHD have been based on samples comprised primarily (or exclusively) of boys. While psychosocial impairment in girls with ADHD is well established, the neuropsychological and neurobiological basis of these deficits is less consistently observed. There is growing evidence that boys' and girls' brains develop and mature at different rates, suggesting that the trajectory of early anomalous brain development in ADHD may also be sex-specific. It remains unclear, however, whether earlier brain maturation observed in girls with ADHD is protective. In this review, we outline the current theory and research findings that seek to establish a unique neurobiological profile of girls with ADHD, highlighting sex differences in typical brain development and among children with ADHD. The review highlights findings from neurological, neurocognitive, and behavioral studies. Future research directions are suggested, including the need for longitudinal neuroimaging and neurobehavioral investigation beginning as early as the preschool years, and continuing through adolescence and adulthood, with consideration of identified sex differences in the development of ADHD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-284
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental Disabilities Research Reviews
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008

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Keywords

  • ADHD
  • Childhood
  • Development
  • Executive functions
  • Gender
  • Neuroimaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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