Are names of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder more 'hyperactive'?

Gal Shoval, Iris Manor, Eitan Nahshoni, Avraham Weizman, Gil Zalsman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The role of the meaning of given names has been noted in psychotherapy as well as in everyday life. This study aimed to investigate the possible association between the nature of given names of children and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis. Sampling and Methods: A total of 134 given names of children and adolescent patients diagnosed as having ADHD were compared with those of an age- and gender-matched randomly chosen control group from the general population. The first names of the two cohorts were compared with regard to the following: the literal meaning of their names, whether the name constitutes a verb, the prevalence of each name and their length (number of syllables). Results: The meaning of first names of children and adolescents with ADHD combined type were rated by referees as expressing significantly more activity and containing less syllables than the names of controls. In addition, the prevalence of their names was significantly lower than that of names used in the general population. All findings remained significant following Bonferroni adjustment. Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate an intriguing relationship between children's given names and ADHD diagnosis. Given names may serve as a possible predictor of later diagnosis of ADHD. Clinicians should be more attentive to given names in the context of child psychiatric evaluation and therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-219
Number of pages5
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Children
  • Epidemiology
  • Hyperactivity


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