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New Research Finds ADHD in Women Is Overwhelmingly Misunderstood

Women and Men Equally Likely to Have ADHD, but 75% of U.S. Adults Don't Know That Women Are Less Likely Than Men to Be Diagnosed to Launch Women's Initiative to Address Lifelong Stigmas

NEW YORK, June 17, 2024 /PRNewswire/ --, a leading nonprofit empowering more than 70 million neurodivergent people who have learning and thinking differences, such as ADHD and dyslexia, today announced the results of a Harris Poll of over 2,000 adults ages 18+, finding that nearly half (50%) of adults believe that the negative stigma surrounding neurodiversity is stronger than ever. The survey also found that most U.S. adults (56%) agree women with ADHD are perceived differently than men with ADHD, including three in four women with ADHD (75%) who feel this way. Against this backdrop, today is announcing a women's initiative aimed at raising awareness and challenging the stigma around neurodiversity (particularly ADHD and dyslexia) for adult women.

"Women with ADHD are far more likely to be undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, and misunderstood compared to men," said Laura Key, vice president of content strategy and co-leader of the women's initiative at "The launch of our women's initiative is a significant step forward toward leveling the playing field."

The new survey found that most U.S. adults (58%) know that women are just as likely to have ADHD as men, yet many have misconceptions about ADHD in women. Notably, 75% of U.S. adults don't know that women are less likely than men to be diagnosed with ADHD, and 72% did not know that women with ADHD are more likely than men to be misdiagnosed. The survey also revealed 87% of people were unaware of bias against women in ADHD testing tools.

According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, 33 million women and girls in the U.S. have learning and thinking differences. The new survey revealed over half of adults (53%) with ADHD prefer to keep their diagnoses to themselves, with 66% of young women (ages 18–34) preferring to stay silent compared to 42% of young men*, signaling an inherent societal bias. At the same time, however, nearly two-thirds (63%) of adults with a learning or thinking difference wish they had been diagnosed earlier in life, with moms of children under 18 saying this more than dads (70% vs. 53%).

"Today, too many women mask and do not seek support for their learning and thinking differences. We must break the cycle of stigma and inequities that women face every day," added Key.

To learn more about women and ADHD, please visit Also, tune in to our new podcast channel, MissUnderstood: ADHD in Women, at

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of from May 7–9, 2024, among 2,100 U.S. adults ages 18+. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the full sample data is accurate to within +/- 2.5 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. *Results for young (18–34) women and men diagnosed with ADHD are based on small sample sizes (n<75) and should be interpreted with caution/as directional only.

About Understood

Understood is a nonprofit focused on shaping the world for difference. We raise awareness of the challenges, skills, and strengths of people who learn and think differently. Our resources help people navigate challenges, gain confidence, and find support and community so they can thrive. Together, we can build a world where everyone can reach their full potential. Understood is a 501(c)(3) organization headquartered in New York. For more information, to donate, or to partner, visit and follow us @UnderstoodOrg.


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By: PR Newswire Association LLC. - 17 Jun 2024
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