Subjective Distress Associated with Adult ADHD: evaluation of a new self-report

  • Rosetta Nicastro
  • Martin Desseilles
  • Paco Prada
  • Sébastien Weibel
  • Nader Perroud
  • Marianne Gex-Fabry
Original Article


The current study aims at documenting the psychometric properties of the Subjective Distress Associated with Adult ADHD-Self-Report (SDAAA-SR), a newly developed instrument for the assessment of psychological suffering in ADHD adults. The SDAAA-SR was administered to 247 students and 142 ADHD adults. Factor structure, internal consistency, test–retest reliability, convergent validity and discriminant validity were assessed. Sensitivity to change was examined in a subsample of 25 ADHD patients who participated in a 1-year therapy. The initial pool of 62 items was reduced to 33 items distributed in a three-component structure. Internal consistency was excellent for the “distress due to inattention/disorganization” subscale and good for the “distress due to hyperactivity/impulsivity” and “distress due to self-esteem deficit” subscales. Test–retest reliability in a subsample of 98 students was substantial for all three subscales. ADHD patients scored significantly higher than students on distress due to “inattention/disorganization” and “hyperactivity/impulsivity,” but no difference was observed for “self-esteem deficit.” The components “inattention/disorganization” and “hyperactivity/impulsivity” displayed moderate to large correlations with the corresponding dimensions of the Adult Self-Report Scale for ADHD (ASRS-V1.1). Distress due to “inattention/disorganization” and “self-esteem deficit” was significantly associated with lower satisfaction with social behaviors (QFS, social functioning questionnaire) and quality of life (WHOQOL-BREF). Distress due to “inattention/disorganization” and “self-esteem deficit” significantly decreased after a 1-year therapy. The SDAAA-SR represents a reliable and valid measure of adult ADHD-associated distress, an important but often undocumented parameter in the clinical setting. Its use as an outcome variable in psychological interventions deserves further investigation.


ADHD Adult Instrument validation Psychological distress 



The authors would like to thank all Geneva TRE team members who contributed to this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human participants and/or animals

The study was approved by the Hospital Ethics Committees in Namur and Geneva.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

12402_2017_234_MOESM1_ESM.docx (45 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 44 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosetta Nicastro
    • 1
  • Martin Desseilles
    • 2
  • Paco Prada
    • 1
  • Sébastien Weibel
    • 1
  • Nader Perroud
    • 1
  • Marianne Gex-Fabry
    • 1
  1. 1.TRE Program, Division of Psychiatric Specialties, Department of Mental Health and PsychiatryUniversity Hospitals of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.University of NamurNamurBelgium

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