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Autism spectrum and attention-deficit disorders in girls. Some neuropsychological aspects.

Journal article
Authors Agneta Nydén
Erland Hjelmquist
Christopher Gillberg
Published in European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Volume 9
Issue 3
Pages 180-185
ISSN 1018-8827
Publication year 2000
Published at Department of Psychology
Institute for the Health of Women and Children, Dept of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Pages 180-185
Language en
Keywords Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity, Diagnosis, Epidemiology, Autistic Disorder, Diagnosis, Epidemiology, Child, Cognition Disorders, Diagnosis, Epidemiology, Female, Humans, Male, Neuropsychological Tests, Social Perception
Subject categories Medical and Health Sciences, Psychiatry


This study compared the neuropsychological test profiles of non-mentally retarded girls and boys consecutively referred to a neuropsychiatric clinic and those of contrast cases of girls from mainstream classrooms of one Goteborg school district. To avoid overreliance on the male prototype with regard to diagnostic criteria the clinical group comprised a mixed sample of girls and boys without diagnostic subgrouping. Clinic girls had a lower IQ than comparison girls. Girls were more impaired than the boys with respect to executive functions and scored less well on theory of mind tasks. Previous studies have shown girls with autism and mental retardation to be more severely affected than boys both with regard to level of intellectual functioning and overall measures of brain dysfunction. The present study indicates that clinic girls with a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders at higher levels of intellectual functioning (some of which met diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder) may also be more severely affected than boys with corresponding types of "surface" problems.

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