Elisabeth Manville
Mar 30, 2012

German researchers conclude that ADHD is over-diagnosed, especially in males

Researchers at Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany have concluded that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is over-diagnosed based on the results of a new study. They surveyed a total of 1,000 child and adolescent psychotherapists and psychiatrists across Germany, with 473 ultimately participating. The participants each got one of four possible case vignettes, only one of which met the criteria for ADHD, and were asked to give their diagnosis. The gender was a variable, meaning there was a total of eight possible cases. The results showed that psychotherapists and psychiatrists often based diagnosis off of heuristics, or unclear rules of thumb, rather than adhering to recognized diagnostic criteria. Furthermore, when presenting two identical cases where the only difference was gender, the male would often be diagnosed with ADHD, while the female would not. The original press release in German can be found here, and an English translation here.