Cognitive Responses to Stress, Depression, and Anxiety and Their Relationship to ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) Symptoms

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Alexander, Sandra
ADHD , Stress
Abstract This research sought to answer the question “To what extent do symptoms related to depression, anxiety and stress interfere with the valid measurement of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?” More specifically, “To what extent do these factors affect the Conner’s Adult ADHD Rating Scale (CAARS; Conners, Erdhardt, & Sparrow, 1999) and the BADDS (Brown Attention Deficit Disorder Scale; T. E. Brown, 1996), popular measures of ADHD status?” I examined the number of people in “higher stress situations” scoring above accepted critical values on the subscales of the CAARS and on the BADDS in comparison to the general population. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to determine the relationship between the level of depression, anxiety, stress, and ADHD symptomatology and to determine the amount of variance of CAARS and BADDS scores accounted for by each of these other psychological variables. Three separate groups of people participated in this study: students from a Psychology 100 subject pool; students going to health or counselling services; and a group of nurses employed in a local hospital. Participants completed questionnaires regarding self-reported levels of depression, anxiety, stress, life experiences, role stress, coping skills, and ADHD symptoms. Self-reported levels of depression, anxiety, stress, and other factors were positively correlated with scores on the measures of ADHD symptomatology. People who reported more anxiety, more depression, and/or more stress were more likely to score above critical values on the ADHD measures.
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