Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a prevalent disorder estimated to affect 3%-7% of children and about 4% of the adult population. In adults, ADHD is associated with lower academic achievement, more interpersonal conflicts and a bevy of other negative outcomes. Research on the assessment and treatment of ADHD in adults has considerably lagged behind research conducted with children. Existing research has been influential in the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) decision to update the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) definition of ADHD to include more developmentally expansive criteria. Modifications to the fifth edition of the manual (DSM-5) included an increase in the age-of-onset from seven to twelve, and the addition of more applicable symptom exemplars for older patients. The current study explored effects that the modification of criteria had on the prevalence of ADHD in college students. Results suggested that the relaxed age-of-onset criteria led to a three-fold increase in the number of ADHD diagnoses in the sample. The symptom severity for those who met DSM-IV-TR and DSM-5 ADHD did not differ significantly. Surprisingly, there was little agreement in diagnostic status between established measures of ADHD and the symptom checklist used as the primary diagnostic tool. Implications of the findings and future directions for research are discussed after the presentation of the results.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Kelley, Mary Lou

Included in

Psychology Commons