Inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity, and mathematics: Exploring gender differences in a nonclinical sample
In this study, we considered two subscales of attention problem (AP) behaviour, inattentiveness and hyperactivity/impulsivity, as latent traits, extreme values of which indicate attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We examined gender differences in these traits in a community sample of Russian schoolchildren and estimated the extent to which the association of AP behaviour and math achievement varied for boys and girls. The data from a three-wave longitudinal study of math achievement of 958 children (49 % girls) were used, and growth in math achievement was estimated. The levels of inattentiveness and hyperactivity/impulsivity of each child were measured based on teachers’ responses using the Behaviour Rating Scale (BRS).
The results demonstrated that inattentiveness had a negative association with math achievement, while hyperactivity/impulsivity was positively associated with math achievement when inattentiveness was controlled for. Inattentiveness was negatively associated with math achievement in both boys and girls. However, the size of this association decreased over time for boys, so the gap between boys with high inattentiveness and low inattentiveness decreased from grade 1 to grade 2. Meanwhile, for girls, the association between inattentiveness and math remained stable, so the gap between girls with high inattentiveness and girls with low inattentiveness did not change.