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Am J Psychiatry. 2000 Jul;157(7):1077-83.

Family study of girls with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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  • 1Pediatric Psychopharmacology Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114, USA.



Because attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is relatively infrequent among girls, little is known about the causes of ADHD in girls. To help fill this gap in the literature, the authors assessed the familial transmission of ADHD in families ascertained through girls.


Interviewers who were blind to diagnosis administered structured psychiatric interviews to 140 girls with ADHD and their 417 first-degree relatives and to 122 girls without ADHD and their 369 first-degree relatives.


The relatives of the ADHD girls had a significantly higher prevalence of ADHD, according to either the DSM-III-R or DSM-IV definition, than the relatives of the comparison girls. However, this did not differ from the prevalence the authors reported previously for families of boys with ADHD. Like the boys' families, the relatives of the girl probands also had significantly higher prevalences of antisocial, mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders, although the prevalence of familial antisocial disorders was lower than had been observed in the boys' families. There was no association between the DSM-IV subtypes of the probands and relatives.


The familial transmission of ADHD and comorbid disorders generalizes to families of girls with ADHD. Neither proband gender nor subtype influences the familial transmission of ADHD.

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