Self-Report of ADHD Symptoms in University Students: Cross-Gender and Cross-National Prevalence

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Little research has examined the structure and prevalence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in university students, including whether symptom structure conforms to the bidimensional (i.e., inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity) conceptualization of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSMV-IV; American Psychiatric Association, 1994) and whether self-reported symptoms vary across gender and country. A sample of 1,209 university students from three countries (Italy, New Zealand, and the United States) completed a 24-item self-report measure (the Young Adult Rating Scale) tapping ADHD symptomatology. Factor analyses within the U.S. and New Zealand samples supported a bidimensional symptom structure, whereas weaker support for this conceptualization was provided by the Italian sample. Participants did not vary significantly by gender in symptom report; however, Italian students reported significantly more inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms than students from the United States, and students from New Zealand reported more inattention symptoms than students from the United States. The prevalence of self-reported ADHD symptoms beyond DSM-IV thresholds for diagnosis ranged from 0% (Italian women) to 8.1% (New Zealand men). The implications of these results for the use of DSM-IV criteria in identifying university students with ADHD are discussed.


This article was originally published in Journal of Learning Disabilities. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Journal of Learning Disabilities


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