The Relationship of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and the Self-Esteem of College Women



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The symptoms of females with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) have been underreported, possibly due to the fact that their symptoms of inattention are often overlooked. Research has revealed that individuals report low selfesteem as a result of undiagnosed AD/HD. Thus, if these individuals are not diagnosed and exposed to the proper treatment for their AD/HD symptoms, they may continue to endure progressive psychological impairments in the years to come. The current study is an attempt to contribute to the literature concerning the presentation and outcome of AD/HD in women. This study aims to determine the relationship of self esteem and AD/HD in college women. A sample of 74 women participated in this study. A total of 24 students diagnosed with AD/HD and 50 students without AD/HD comprised the sample. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire and an AD/HD and Self-Esteem inventory. Results of this study indicated that women who were diagnosed with AD/HD scored higher than the comparison sample on all scales measuring AD/HD symptoms. As predicted, AD/HD symptoms were found to be negatively related to self-esteem. On the other hand, no significant correlations were found between the age of women when they were first diagnosed with AD/HD and their current level of self-esteem. It was also determined that family support was related self-esteem. Thus, family support was examined as a moderator of the relation between self-esteem and AD/HD. Unfortunately, family support does not appear to moderate the relation between AD/HD and self-esteem. Limitations of this study included a small sample size, the use of self-reports, not examining subtypes of AD/HD individually, and not requiring a medication abstinence period. Despite limitations, this study provides some insight on the outcomes of women with AD/HD. It also provides evidence for the need of additional research in the area of women with AD/HD; their life-span experience with AD/HD and the effects of a late diagnosis. Further studies in this area of interest that include larger sample sizes from multiple postsecondary institutions will be necessary to determine that the results in this study are in fact generalizable to other college women diagnosed with AD/HD.