Associate Professor of Psychology Tara McKee chaired a session on “Medical and developmental diversity” at the biennial conference for the Society of the Study of Emerging Adulthood in San Diego.
As part of that session, she presented a paper titled “ADHD Symptomatology and Adaptive Attributional Style in Early Adulthood: The Importance of Self-Esteem.” Her talk examined how self-esteem moderated the relationship between attributional style (one’s explanations for the causes of good and bad events that happen to them) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptomatology in a study of 165 emerging adult college students.
McKee said that in students with higher self-esteem, there was a positive relationship between ADHD symptomatology and an adaptive attributional style for good events. However, in students with lower self-esteem, greater ADHD symptomatology was associated with having a more maladaptive attributional style for both good and bad events.
She noted that prior research on adults with ADHD had only examined attributional style for negative events. The current study demonstrated the importance of looking at both positive and negative events in emerging adults and the potential to examine self-esteem as a target for intervention to aid in the transition to college for emerging adults with ADHD.