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Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) and Fluctuating Asymmetry (FA) in a College Sample: An Exploratory Study
American Journal of Human Biology (2003)
  • Joseph E. Trimble, PhD
  • Joan C. Stevenson, Western Washington University
  • C. Burton, Western Washington University
  • Don C. Williams, Western Washington University
  • P. M. Everson, Western Washington University
  • Eldon R. Mahoney, Western Washington University
Departures from normal development can be partly assessed by measuring fluctuating asymmetry (FA), that is, differences from perfect symmetry in traits that display bilateral symmetry. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), one of the most common psychiatric conditions, is diagnosed if there are developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. The objective here is to measure whether AD/HD behaviors positively correlate with FA in head, hands, and fingerprints of a sample of college students (n = 176, 57 male, 119 female) not selected for AD/HD. FA was measured as the absolute value of the difference between right and left sides divided by group mean trait size. Average FAs (mean, SE) were lowest for finger lengths (e.g., male, 3rd, 0.011 ± 0.001; female, 3rd, 0.012 ± 0.001) and highest for digit ridge counts (e.g., male, 5th, 0.075 ± 0.007; female, 2nd, 0.069 ± 0.005). Average FAs were similar between the sexes and only one facial measure and the facial index (summed FAs) differed significantly between the sexes (F > M). The scores for measures of the adult AD/HD behavioral assessment instrument, the Wender Utah Rating Scale (WURS) were high overall in this sample and males exhibited higher rates of symptoms than females. A Rasch measurement model analysis of individual responses to the WURS produced a true interval score for each person that is a measure of individual “AD/HDness.” FA indices were then regressed on Rasch scores. A univariate analysis of all the variables demonstrated a significant interaction of sex. Hand, Dermatoglyphic, Face, and Total Indices were then regressed by sex on the Rasch values of “AD/HDness.” Only in males was there a trend for the Dermatoglyphic Index (F1,55 = 3.627, P = 0.062) and Total Index (F1,55 = 3.811, P = 0.056) to increase as AD/HDness increases. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 15:601–619, 2003.© 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
  • AD/HD,
  • Fluctuating asymmetry,
  • FA
Publication Date
October, 2003
Publisher Statement
Copyright by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Citation Information
Joseph E. Trimble, PhD, Joan C. Stevenson, C. Burton, Don C. Williams, et al.. "Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) and Fluctuating Asymmetry (FA) in a College Sample: An Exploratory Study" American Journal of Human Biology Vol. 15 Iss. 5 (2003) p. 601 - 619
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