What do we really know about college students with ADHD?
Research on ADHD in college students began in the 1990s and has been steadily increasing in recent years. Because young adults with ADHD who attend college have experienced greater academic success during high school than many peers with the disorder, which is likely to be associated with better overall functioning, the degree to which they experience similar patterns of adjustment difficulties was not initially known. Accumulating research suggests that college students with ADHD experience less academic success and greater psychological and emotional difficulties than other students and use alcohol and drugs at higher rates. However, conclusions to be drawn from this research are limited by the use of small samples that may not be representative of the wider population of students with ADHD, and a lack of diagnostic rigor in identifying students with ADHD to be included in such research. Studies of the effectiveness of psychosocial treatments, medication treatment, and academic accommodations are extremely limited or nonexistent. Issues particularly germane to college students include feigning ADHD and the misuse and diversion of stimulant medication. Given that at least 25 % of college students with disabilities are diagnosed with ADHD, methodologically sound investigations are clearly needed in order to better understand the impact of ADHD on college students’ adjustment and to develop and implement interventions that can enhance students’ success.
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