Achva College of Education (ISRAEL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN10 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 6751-6761
ISBN: 978-84-613-9386-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Adults with ADHD face many daily challenges in everyday functioning (Barkley, Murphy & Fisher, 2007). The present study used Web sites as a source of information of retrospective perception of adults with AD(H)D diagnosed in adulthood. We examined how these adults perceived the influence of significant others on their functioning and self-perception, and how the diagnosis of AD(H)D in adulthood changed those perceptions.

71 life stories were analyzed using grounded theory method. All narrators described difficulties with performing tasks. These difficulties have led many of them to experience failures and confusion. Significant others in their lives did not understand why they were so challenged by everyday tasks, and thereby criticized them. That constant criticism resulted in a loss of willingness to cope and their faith in their ability to succeed. The conflict between the need to perform duties and difficulty with performing these tasks took a toll. Many narrators became worn under that toll and experienced depression. The diagnosis of AD(H)D led to and understanding of the reason for their woes, to seek out solutions and to believe that they could finally cope with their challenges.

Their burden was reduced following the use of psychopharmacological treatment and coping strategies, which helped these individuals turn their lives into more enjoyable, consistent and predictable. Our findings indicate that the sense of overload had a central role in these individuals' difficulties in coping with AD(H)D. The diagnosis enabled those narrators who were willing to adopt appropriate strategies to reduce their overload, thus increasing their belief their ability to conduct meaningful and successful life.

However, a few of the narrators did not manage to escape their sense of heavy load and therefore found it difficult to seek proper treatment or implement useful coping strategies.
The salutogenic theory (Antonovsky, 1987) demonstrates that successful coping with difficulties is necessary for the individual to feel a sense coherence, i.e., living with a sense of influence over one's life, of understanding of one's life circumstances, and of leading a meaningful life.

Antonovsky, A. (1987). Unraveling the mystery of health: How people manage stress and stay well. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Barkley, R. A., Murphy, K. R., & Fisher, M. (2007). ADHD in adults: What the science says. New York: Guilford Press.
ADHD, adults, internet, grounded theory.