Date of Conferral



Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)




Ethel Perry


African American college women with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can experience intersectional stigmas based on race, gender, and learning disability. Intersectional stigmas affect African American college women in self-esteem, social acceptance, and academic progress. The scholarly community has not published literature regarding intersectional stigma experienced by African American college women with ADHD. The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences of African American college women who had encountered intersectional stigma based on race, gender, and ADHD. Goffman’s social stigma theory and Crenshaw’s intersectional stigma theory served as the theoretical and conceptual frameworks to explore how African American college women with ADHD described their experiences of intersectional stigma. A qualitative descriptive phenomenological approach was used to develop an interview instrument to collect data from 13 participants through semi-structured telephone interviews. Analysis of the interview transcripts was conducted to determine common themes. Findings indicated that ADHD symptoms, lack of college preparation, and overwhelming emotions were a concern; reluctance to reveal diagnosis to professors and fellow students for fear of stigmatization and discrimination; ADHD accommodations, coping skills, and teaching in multiple intelligences was beneficial; and early diagnosis and treatment of ADHD is essential. Results may contribute to positive social change by providing college administrators with a better understanding of African American women’s needs and challenges with ADHD and providing data to help develop support and services that will assist in this population’s academic success.