Names may carry unconscious personal significance, thus making them a possible important aspect of identity, which may play a pivotal role in the development of personality and psychopathology. Several empirical studies have shown an association between rarity of names and psychopathology. The main aim of our study was to investigate the association between the first names of children with ADHD and the trait of hyperactivity from various aspects. A total of 134 names of children with ADHD were compared to an age and sex- matched general population control name list.
The names of ADHD patients were rated as expressing more hyperactivity linguistically than those of the general population controls. Names of ADHD patients had a lower number of syllables than control names (1.84±0.55 vs. 2.22±0.74, p< 0.0001) and their prevalence in the general population was significantly lower (0.0051±0.0046 vs. 0.0079±0.0076, p=0.0003). All findings remained significant following Bonferroni adjustment.
Our findings strongly supported our hypothesis that the “nature” of names (i.e. linguistic meaning) of ADHD patients differed significantly from matched controls of the general population. Possible mechanisms that may explain this intriguing relationship are discussed as well as clinical implications in the field of psychotherapy.