The self-esteem of adults diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a systematic review of the literature

Abstract

Individuals with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often grow up with negative messages surrounding their abilities and may experience adverse outcomes throughout their lives. Despite this, by adulthood, those with ADHD often find that they are left without adequate support from services. This review explores the relationship between self-esteem and ADHD in adulthood with a view to outlining needs and potential opportunities in terms of service provision. Twelve databases were searched for relevant literature published between 1980 and 2013 using terms relating to self-esteem, ADHD and adulthood. The resulting 13 articles comprised both cross-sectional and intervention studies. Despite a limited number of studies and methodological concerns, there is evidence to suggest that ADHD is associated with lower self-esteem in adulthood and that self-esteem difficulties can be remedied, to at least some extent, by psychotherapeutic work. It is recommended that future research focuses on the evaluation of therapy that specifically targets difficulties in self-esteem in this population.

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Acknowledgments

The author extends a warm thank you to Mark Shercliff, Alice Clark and Leigh Wilkins for their assistance in proof reading.

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Appendices

Appendix 1

See Table 3.

Table 3 Data extraction proforma

Appendix 2

See Table 4.

Table 4 Quality assessment tool

Appendix 3

See Table 5.

Table 5 Quality assessment results

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Cook, J., Knight, E., Hume, I. et al. The self-esteem of adults diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a systematic review of the literature. ADHD Atten Def Hyp Disord 6, 249–268 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12402-014-0133-2

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Keywords

  • ADHD
  • Self-esteem
  • Adulthood
  • Psychosocial
  • Interventions
  • Review