A comparative study of the vocational interests of adults with and without ADHD

by Sean David Willoughby

Institution: University of Johannesburg
Year: 2015
Record ID: 1411776
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10210/13732


Although Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) was once thought to occur exclusively in the course of childhood, remitting in adolescence, it is increasingly accepted as a valid diagnosis in adulthood, with DSM-5 providing diagnostic criteria adapted for adults. Symptoms of ADHD in adulthood can lead to impairment in the occupational and tertiary educational environments among others, and additionally can lead to individual differences in ability to perform certain occupational functions, as well as in the occupations to which an individual may be attracted. Adults with ADHD have been shown to differ significantly in personality from non-ADHD adults. The "goodness of fit" between personality and environment underlies much of the predominant understanding of occupational choice. In addition to impairment in the work environment, a lack of fit may exist between adults with ADHD and many features common to organisations. Despite this, along with acknowledgement of the influence of career choice on various factors, including success, emotional welfare and personal productivity, there is a lack of literature dealing specifically with career counselling in ADHD populations. In order to investigate the differences between adults with and without ADHD in a number of areas commonly assessed for career counselling and guidance purposes, an ADHD screening tool, the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS) was administered to a sample (n=60) of adults with and without ADHD. Participants were then assigned to ADHD and non-ADHD groups on the basis of ASRS scores in conjunction with diagnostic history, and assessed by means of the Self-directed Search Questionnaire (SDS), and the Basic Traits Inventory (BTI). Tests for between-group differences revealed significant differences on a small number of variables with the ADHD group scoring significantly higher on only the Enterprising type of the SDS. On the BTI, the ADHD group scored significantly higher on Extraversion, and significantly lower on Conscientiousness. The ADHD group also scored significantly higher on the Actions, Ideas, and Imagination facets of the BTI's Openness to Experience factor.