People With ADHD More Likely to Question Gender Identity

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects millions of people globally. ADHD affects the individuals’ ability to pay attention, stay organized, and control impulsive behaviors. In recent years, studies show that ADHD may have a significant link to a person’s gender identity.

What is Gender Identity?

Gender identity is a person’s perception of themselves as male or female. Gender identity goes beyond the biological characteristics of sex; it is how a person feels about themselves concerning their gender. People with an affirmed gender identity are comfortable with their gender identity, which matches their biological sex.

However, studies have shown that people with ADHD are more likely to question their gender identity, leading to higher risks of gender dysphoria.

ADHD and Gender Identity

A study conducted in 2018 by researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden examined 204 individuals with ADHD and 202 individuals without the disorder. The findings showed that about 10% of people with ADHD reported gender dysphoria compared to less than 2% of the control group. The study concluded that people with ADHD are more likely to experience gender dysphoria than those without the disorder.

Similarly, a study published in 2020 in the Journal of Attention Disorders found the same link between ADHD and gender dysphoria. The findings showed that people with ADHD had higher gender dysphoria scores compared to individuals without ADHD.

However, researchers have not yet established the underlying reasons behind the link between ADHD and questioning one’s gender identity.

Possible Underlying Factors

ADHD is a complex disorder that may result from various underlying factors, including genetics, environment, and brain structure. The same can be said for gender dysphoria. Therefore, It’s challenging to pinpoint a single reason why people with ADHD are more likely to question their gender identity.

However, studies show that some possible factors may contribute to the higher rates of gender dysphoria in people with ADHD, and these include:

  • Neurocognitive differences: ADHD alters the brain’s anatomy, which affects the individual’s cognition and executive functioning.
  • Psychological comorbidity: Research has shown that ADHD is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.
  • Endocrine factors: Hormonal imbalances, such as those that occur during puberty, may cause a person to question their gender identity.
  • Social Isolation: People with ADHD may experience social difficulties, leading to isolation and struggles to fit into gender norms.

Mental Health and Gender Identity

Gender dysphoria is a mental health condition that affects a person’s quality of life. The risks of depression, anxiety, and suicide are higher in people with gender dysphoria.

Therefore, it’s essential to recognize the link between ADHD and gender identity and provide support to individuals who may be questioning their gender identity. Early diagnosis and treatment of ADHD may be necessary to prevent the development of gender dysphoria.


ADHD and gender dysphoria are two complex conditions that affect millions of people worldwide. Evidence suggests that people with ADHD are more likely to question their gender identity, leading to higher risks of developing gender dysphoria. The reasons behind the link are not yet clear, but possible factors include neurocognitive differences, psychological comorbidity, endocrine factors, and social isolation.

Acknowledging this link and providing support to individuals who are questioning their gender identity is crucial. Further research is needed to understand the underlying mechanisms involved in this relationship and develop interventions to support individuals with ADHD who are experiencing gender dysphoria.


FAQs About People With ADHD More Likely to Question Gender Identity

1. What is the link between ADHD and gender identity?

A recent study found that individuals with ADHD are more likely to question their gender identity, leading to a higher likelihood of gender dysphoria and transgender identity. This may be due to shared neurobiological factors or a greater tendency towards nonconformity and risk-taking behavior.

2. How can individuals with ADHD manage gender dysphoria?

Managing gender dysphoria is a complex process that requires individualized support, therapy, and medical intervention. Individuals with ADHD who are questioning their gender identity can benefit from seeking support from a qualified therapist or medical professional who specializes in gender issues.

3. What can educators and clinicians do to support individuals with ADHD and gender dysphoria?

Educators and clinicians can support individuals with ADHD and gender dysphoria by creating inclusive and affirming environments that reflect an understanding of gender diversity. This can include using gender-neutral language, respecting pronoun preferences, providing gender-affirming healthcare, and advocating for social and legal equality for all gender identities.


1. American Psychological Association. (2019). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Key facts. Retrieved from

2. Strang, J. F., Kenworthy, L., Dominska, A., Sokoloff, J., Kenealy, L. E., Berl, M., … & Wallace, G. L. (2019). Increased gender variance in autism spectrum disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Archives of sexual behavior, 48(1), 139-152. doi: 10.1007/s10508-018-1207-5

3. Becerra-Culqui, T. A., Liu, Y., Nash, R., Cromwell, L., Flanders, W. D., Getahun, D., & Giammattei, S. V. (2018). Mental health of transgender and gender nonconforming youth compared with their peers. Pediatrics, 141(5), e20173845. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-3845