Adult symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: An exploratory analysis


Vogel, Adam S.; Lu, L.; Thomas, A.; & Kvaal, S. A. (2014). Adult symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: An exploratory analysis. 2014 Add Health Users Conference. Bethesda, MD.


Research devoted to identifying symptoms in adults with ADHD has been sparse. The aim of the authors was to investigate behaviors associated specifically with adults with ADHD. Using the Retrospective ADHD questionnaire and problem behavior data from the Add Health database, we explored problem behaviors that best predicted ADHD categorization in a sample of 13,278 healthy adults and 945 adults with self-reported ADHD. Problem behaviors were grouped using factor analysis, and ADHD status was predicted using these factors via discriminant function analyses. Results found three factors of interest that predicted ADHD: Stimulation Seeking, Risky Sexual Behavior, and Heavy Drug Use. Interestingly, the former two were positively related to ADHD but Heavy Drug Use was negatively related to ADHD. When subtypes of ADHD were examined independently, factors that were associated with ADHD were different depending on the subtype being examined. Additionally, the author constructed clinical theoretical factors based on experience and found that Risky Sex, Stimulation Seeking, and Drugs, among others, were predictive of who had ADHD. Contrary to what was hypothesized, Inattention was negatively associated with ADHD. The results demonstrated that the symptoms associated with adult ADHD were fairly distinct from childhood symptoms of ADHD presented in DSM-5. Implications would include that the DSM-5 criteria, designed originally only for children, may be inappropriate for use in adults.


Reference Type

Conference proceeding

Book Title

2014 Add Health Users Conference


Vogel, Adam S.
Lu, L.
Thomas, A.
Kvaal, S. A.

Year Published


City of Publication

Bethesda, MD

Reference ID