UQ study aims to understand experiences of ADHD in adult women

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Women diagnosed in adulthood with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are encouraged to join a University of Queensland study into the impact of the diagnosis.

Dr. Kate Witteveen from UQ's School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work said women and girls had been under-represented in previous ADHD research, most of which had been done overseas.

The studies that did include girls noted they are less likely to get an early diagnosis of ADHD, as they have flown under the radar during their formative years.

The impact of ADHD symptoms typically increases during primary school years, which coincides with the development of self-perception and identity.

When girls are not diagnosed with ADHD and form their own interpretation of their behavior and tendencies, they may become highly self-critical.

Undiagnosed women may struggle with negative feelings and not realize that their challenges are symptoms of ADHD – things like being able to accurately estimate the time tasks take to be completed."

Dr Kate Witteveen from UQ's School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work

The UQ study will involve a 15-minute online questionnaire and a video-recorded interview which will take approximately one hour.

The information collected will be used to understand the experiences of women pre and post diagnosis.

Dr Witteveen has supported women diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood as part of her therapeutic work.

"It was apparent that each of my clients could achieve great things and were highly capable of managing their challenges," Dr Witteveen said.

"However, their lack of understanding of why they may have had difficulties with things such as getting started on boring tasks, typically resulted in negative self-perceptions.

"The negative impacts associated with undiagnosed ADHD can be considerable and include self-critical beliefs, burnout, exhaustion, misdiagnosis, and lack of access to appropriate treatment that could potentially alleviate symptoms.

"This study will address the notable gap in knowledge and understanding of women's experiences.

"We hope to contribute to better recognition and earlier diagnosis of ADHD in girls and women and provide meaningful insights into the ways they may be better supported."

Interested participants can register their interest in this study via this link.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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