Sex differences in a sample of Egyptian adolescents with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: a cross-sectional study

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Abstract

Background

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neuropsychiatric disorder, yet studies comparing adolescent boys and girls with ADHD showed inconsistent findings.

Objectives

To examine the sex differences with respect to sociodemographic and clinical characteristics in a sample of Egyptian ADHD adolescents.

Patients and methods

A total of 925 preparatory school students were randomly selected from private and public schools in Eastern Cairo. We used the Conners-Wells’ Adolescent Self-report Scale-Short form for screening students for ADHD. Those scoring more than 65 were considered potential cases, and so were further assessed by the Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia-Present and Lifetime version for establishing the diagnosis. We used the Conners-Wells’ Adolescent Self-report Scale-Long form for the clinical profile of ADHD and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children to assess intellectual abilities.

Results

Of the studied sample 9.4% had ADHD (6.3% in boys and 3.1% in girls). Girls with ADHD were more likely exposed to parental physical abuse; they had significant earlier age of onset, longer duration of illness, cognitive problems, and less anger control abilities than boys. The hyperactive-impulsive ADHD subtype was significantly encountered in boys and inattentive subtype in girls. Boys scored higher in arithmetic, similarity, and block design intellectual quotient subtests while girls were better in comprehension and digit span. There was no significant difference between the two groups regarding school performance.

Conclusion

Our findings highlighted important differences between boys and girls with ADHD in several clinical and cognitive domains. These findings might serve as a guidance tip for early management of ADHD adolescents in both sexes.

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