Handwriting in children with Attention Deficient Hyperactive Disorder: Role of graphology

Rony Cohen*, Batia Cohen-Kroitoru, Ayelet Halevy, Sharon Aharoni, Irena Aizenberg, Avinoam Shuper

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Handwriting difficulties are common in children with attention deficient hyperactive disorder (ADHD). The aim of our study was to find distinctive characteristics of handwriting in children with ADHD by using graphology to analyze physical characteristics and patterns, and to evaluate whether graphological analysis is an effective ADHD diagnostic tool for clinicians. Method: The cohort included 49 children aged 13-18 years attending a tertiary neurology and epilepsy center in 2016-2017; 22 had a previous DSM-IV/V diagnosis of ADHD. The children were asked to write a 10-12-line story in Hebrew on a blank sheet of paper with a blue pen over a 20-min period. The samples were analyzed by a licensed graphologist blinded to the clinical details of the children against a predetermined handwriting profile of individuals with ADHD. Each ADHD characteristic identified in each sample was accorded 1 point, up to a total of 15 points. Patients with a graphology score of 9-15 were considered to have ADHD. Results: There were 21 boys (43%) and 28 girls (57%) in the cohort; 15 boys (71.4%) and 7 girls (25%) had a DSM-IV/V diagnosis of ADHD. The mean graphology score was significantly higher in the children who had a DSM-IV/V diagnosis of ADHD than in the children who did not (9.61 + 3.49 vs. 5.79 + 4.01, p = 0.002, respectfully). Using a score of 9 as the cutoff, in the girls, graphology had a specificity of 80% (95% CI 59.2-92.8) and a of sensitivity 71.4% for predicting ADHD. Corresponding values in the boys were 75.0 and 76.2%. Conclusion: The handwriting of children with ADHD has specific characteristics. Graphology may serve as a clinically useful tool in the diagnosis of ADHD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number484
JournalBMC Pediatrics
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 10 Dec 2019

Keywords

  • ADHD
  • Diagnosis
  • Graphological analysis
  • Handwriting

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