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ADHD is over-diagnosed
Date:3/30/2012

What experts and the public have already long suspected is now supported by representative data collected by researchers at Ruhr-Universitt Bochum (RUB) and University of Basel: ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is over-diagnosed. The study showed that child and adolescent psychotherapists and psychiatrists tend to give a diagnosis based on heuristics, unclear rules of thumb, rather than adhering to recognized diagnostic criteria. Boys in particular are substantially more often misdiagnosed compared to girls. These are the most important results of a study conducted by Prof. Dr. Silvia Schneider and Prof. Dr. Jrgen Margraf (both from RUB) and Dr. Katrin Bruchmller (University of Basel) as reported in the American periodical "Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology".

Leon has ADHD, Lea doesn't

The researchers surveyed altogether 1,000 child and adolescent psychotherapists and psychiatrists across Germany. 473 participated in the study. They received one of four available case vignettes, and were asked to give a diagnoses and a recommendation for therapy. In three out of the four case vignettes, the described symptoms and circumstances did not fulfil ADHD criteria. Only one of the cases fulfilled ADHD criteria based strictly on the valid diagnostic criteria. In addition, the gender of the child was included as a variable resulting in eight different case vignettes. As the result, when comparing two identical cases with a different gender, the difference was clear: Leon has ADHD, Lea doesn't.

Male and conspicuous: the "prototype" makes the difference

Many child and adolescent psychotherapists and psychiatrists seem to proceed heuristically and base their decisions on prototypical symptoms. The prototype is male and shows symptoms such as motoric restlessness, lack of concentration and impulsiveness. In connection with the gender of the patient, these symptoms lead to different diagnos
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Contact: Prof. Dr. Silvia Schneider
silvia.schneider@rub.de
49-234-322-3168
Ruhr-University Bochum
Source:Eurekalert

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