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TOPIC: ADHD in Girls Linked to Suicide and Self-Harm

ADHD in Girls Linked to Suicide and Self-Harm 19 Feb 2013 15:44 #43

ADHD in Girls Linked to Suicide and Self-Harm in Young Adulthood
Posted December 30th, 2012 by Jennifer L. Reimer


ADHD in girls and female adolescents has been linked to suicide as well as self-harming behaviors in young adulthood by researchers in the department of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley (UCB), based on a ten-year study for the American Psychological Association (APA). The study sought to determine the influence of ADHD in girls on the lives of these individuals on a long-term basis, and the results were published in August, 2012.

Attention Deficit Disorder Definition

Attention deficit disorder or ADD/ADHD is a syndrome most often diagnosed in childhood, symptoms being said to develop before the age of seven by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). It is characterized by inattentive or hyperactive, and impulsive behavior, or some combination of these three. The difference between ADD and ADHD, two terms that have come to be used interchangeably, are now clarified by the three sub types of ADHD, defined by the DSM. The first type lacks the hyperactive component, and is dominated by inattentiveness (ADHD-I). ADHD-I is far more common in girls than in boys. The second type is primarily hyperactive-impulsive (ADHD-H), and the third type reflects a combination of the other two types (ADHD-C).

The UC Berkeley Study and Findings

Over ten years ago, the first wave of the UCB study involved the selection of 223 girls between the ages of 6 and 12. 140 were diagnosed with ADHD, and the remaining 83 girls became the control group. Of the girls diagnosed with the syndrome, 47 girls were diagnosed with ADHD-I and 93 were diagnosed with ADHD-C, which is the most common type to be prompt a reaction from parents and teachers that leads to diagnosis by a clinician.

At five-year and ten-year points, the girls in the study were followed up with full-day clinical assessments. Home visits and telephone interviews were implemented where necessary. The study had a 95% retention rate, and the data in the August 2012 publication was based on the 95% of girls who remained in the study group at the 10-year follow-up point. Now between the ages of 17 and 24, these young women as well as their families were questioned about a variety of life problems, specifically those that are commonly correlated with psychiatric illness, including substance use, self-injury, suicide-attempts, and other depressive symptoms. Academic achievement and neuropsychologial functioning were also topics of examination.

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