A Qualitative Study of Features of ADHD in Young Adults


View Study Website

End Date November 30, 2021

Primary Contact Callie Ginapp

Email callie.ginapp@yale.edu

Phone 641-430-9542

Study Details

ADHD is currently diagnosed based on symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. These criteria were developed to diagnose childhood ADHD and may prove more limited in characterizing adults with ADHD. As prevalence of ADHD diagnosis has nearly doubled over the past twenty years, there is a new cohort of patients with ADHD who are now entering the workforce and/or college education. Because ADHD has long been considered a disorder of childhood, there is limited understanding of how best to support patients through the transition into adulthood. Some adults with ADHD may feel that the current diagnostic criteria do not fully capture the full range of symptoms of the disorder. This sentiment is widely expressed in online communities for people with ADHD. This study aims to understand a greater breadth of symptomatology of adults with ADHD and how current experiences may differ from their childhood ones. This may help guide revision of diagnostic criteria and educate physicians and other clinicians to provide more nuanced and sensitive care.

This study will consist of a series of virtual focus groups exploring the lived experiences of adults aged 18-35 years with ADHD. Focus groups will consist of groups of 6-8 participants for a total of 50-80 participants or until thematic saturation is reached. Groups will be semi-structured and involve discussion of emotional symptoms with specific attention to rejection sensitivity dysphoria, and attention dysregulation including hyperfocusing. Discussion will also include the role of online communities in identity formation around the diagnosis. Qualitative data will be analyzed using a phenomenological framework.

Participants will be recruited using a Qualtrics questioner that screens for the inclusion criteria. Inclusion criteria consist of having an ADHD diagnosis, being English speaking, aged 18-35 years, and scoring greater or equal to 23 on the Adult ADHD Self Report Scale included in the screening survey.