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J Abnorm Psychol. 1999 Feb;108(1):24-41.

Sex differences in genetic and environmental influences on DSM-III-R attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.


Approximately 5% of children are affected by attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and more boys are affected than girls. This study examined the magnitude of genetic and environmental influences on ADHD and several questions regarding sex differences in its prevalence and liability. The participants were 2,391 twin and sibling pairs from Australia, ages 3-18. ADHD symptoms in the general population were highly heritable (h2 = .85-.90), as were deviant ADHD scores in the selected population. The magnitude of familial influences was similar for boys and girls, although there were shared environmental influences on ADHD in girls but not boys and dominance genetic influences on ADHD in boys but not girls. Specific genetic and environmental influences were highly similar for boys and girls. Evidence supported the polygenic multiple threshold model rather than the constitutional variability model of sex differences in ADHD.

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