The Experience of Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in the Workplace

Josephine Laverne Harris, Walden University

Abstract

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been associated with children for many decades, but it can continue into adulthood. However, little research has focused on adults with ADHD or the specific processes through which such adults mitigate the challenges they face, especially in the workplace. The purpose of this qualitative, grounded theory study was to provide a better understanding of the strategies and support systems adults with ADHD use to overcome workplace challenges. Self-efficacy theory grounded the study, allowing for an understanding of the lived experiences of adults with ADHD in the workplace. The researcher conducted 12 semistructured interviews with adults with ADHD, from various employment backgrounds, who were currently working and had at least 3 months of work experience; the collected data were analyzed using a well-established, grounded theory coding procedure. Five themes emerged: (a) workplace challenges, (b) managing ADHD, (c) adaptive behaviors, (d) job satisfaction and levels of interest, and (e) acceptance and awareness. The results showed that many participants used to-do lists, calendars, peer reminders, assistants, and support from employers or coworkers to mitigate workplace challenges. As well as adding to the scholarly literature on adult ADHD, the study has several social change implications: The findings suggest several workplace changes that would mitigate the challenges for workers with ADHD, improve their productivity , and thus benefit themselves, their coworkers, and the organizations they work for.