ADHD in boys

By Rae Jacobson, MS

At a glance

  • Boys are more likely to be hyperactive than girls.

  • They’re also more likely than girls to be diagnosed with ADHD.

  • Boys with ADHD can face unique social challenges.

“ADHD is just about being hyper.” “It’s something only boys have.” 

These are two of the many myths about ADHD. There’s some kernel of truth behind them, though: Even though boys and girls are just as likely to have ADHD, boys are more likely than girls to be diagnosed with ADHD. 

The reason is that boys often have hyperactivity as a symptom — more so than girls. And hyperactivity can be easier to notice than other ADHD symptoms.

Boys with ADHD often get called out or criticized for their hyperactive and impulsive behavior. They may get into trouble a lot at home and at school. And their behavior can turn off other kids and make it hard to fit in socially. 

Every child with ADHD is unique. There are lots of boys with ADHD who struggle with other ADHD challenges, like trouble focusing. But in many cases, the experience of ADHD for boys can be very different from the experience for girls. 

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    About the author

    About the author

    Rae Jacobson, MS is a writer who focuses on ADHD and learning disabilities in women and girls.

    Reviewed by

    Reviewed by

    Ellen Braaten, PhD is the director of LEAP at Massachusetts General Hospital.