Why are females less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD in childhood than males?

Elsevier, The Lancet Psychiatry, Volume , 2024
Martin J.

ADHD is less likely to be diagnosed in females than males, especially in childhood. Females also typically receive the diagnosis later than males and are less likely to be prescribed ADHD medication. Understanding why these sex differences in clinical care and treatment for ADHD occur is key to improving timely diagnosis in people affected by ADHD. This Personal View is a conceptual review synthesising literature on this topic. This publication considers potential biological explanations (eg, genetic factors), influence of diagnostic practices (eg, criteria suitability, diagnostic overshadowing, and sex-specific diagnostic thresholds), and sociocultural explanations (eg, sex differences in presentation and compensatory behaviours), for the observed sex differences in ADHD clinical practice. This Personal View also outlines future research directions for improving understanding of sex differences in recognition and diagnosis of ADHD.