ADHD Symptoms Objective Performance and Subject Perspective

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: ADHD research has mainly focused on objective performance measures. Performance, however, is only one aspect of functioning. Other aspects of how individuals function are their personal experiences and their evaluations of those experiences. The aim of this thesis is to expand knowledge on the topic of ADHD by presenting studies that investigate objective performance and subject perspective, simultaneously. The empirical work presented here has a dimensional approach to ADHD, which is reflected in the use of samples selected to represent a wide variation in ADHD symptoms. Herein, both objective performance and subject perspective are conceptualized in various ways, to address unanswered questions and to question previous research.ADHD is related to underperformance within the academic realm and within the social realm. By introducing novel subject perspective measures, and including objective performance measures in new ways, a more nuanced understanding of these underperformance areas was gained. More specifically, we obtained an overview of the influence of ADHD symptoms in late childhood and adolescence in relation to academic performance by studying a longitudinal framework of concomitant factors. Furthermore, we disentangled the interplay of ADHD and ODD symptoms and cognitive performance in predicting social acceptance and the "positive illusory bias". Additionally, we questioned the link between disorganized attachment representations and ADHD symptoms by investigating the potential relationship between attachment representations and ADHD symptoms, whilst considering concurrent conduct problems, cognitive performance and narrative responses to non-attachment related story stems.Main results indicate that academic performance is influenced by ADHD symptoms and previous academic performance; adolescent self-perceptions of academic competence are negligible in this context. Moreover, ADHD symptoms in adolescence have a negative influence on views of the future, beyond academic performance and parental education. Further, results indicate that positive illusory bias relates more to ODD behaviors. Finally, results also indicate that children with high levels of ADHD symptoms could falsely appear to be disorganized due to a propensity to include negative content in narratives. In conclusion, when studied together, objective performance and subject perspective give new insight into ADHD. The findings presented motivate the simultaneous inclusion of different perspectives of functioning in ADHD research.