Category: ADHD - Child

Symposium

An Investigation of Occupational Impairments in Young Adults With ADHD: Behavior in Occupational Roles

Friday, November 17
10:15 AM - 11:45 AM
Location: Indigo Ballroom E, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: ADHD - Adult | Assessment
Presentation Type: Symposium

Background: There has been little research on the third area of impairment noted in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM; American Psychiatric Association, 2013) – “occupational functioning.”  Individuals with ADHD experience job-related impairments including a greater likelihood of being unemployed, and for those that were employed, they were in a lower status occupation (Barkley et al., 2008; Biswas, et al., 2013; Mannuzza et al., 1997). As more adolescents with ADHD are transitioning to the workforce either in entry-level jobs or in occupations at the beginning of a career, it is important to understand the type and intensity of functional problems within workplace settings. The typical work environment most common for individuals with disabilities such as ADHD is food preparation (Newman et al., 2011), making restaurant/delivery behaviors important targets. 


Methods: The presentation will report behavior of individuals with and without ADHD in an analogue work setting in a laboratory “pizza place.”  Individuals participated in an interview with a prospective boss, had a list of deliveries that need to be managed, dealt with situations that require occupational judgment and appropriate customer service, and drove to make deliveries accurately and on-time using a driving simulator.  Fifty-two young adults were recruited to participate in a research study (26 with ADHD and 26 without ADHD).


Results: Initial results indicate there are differences in workplace behaviors between individuals with ADHD and those without ADHD. For example, there is an estimated moderate effect size (d = .41) on productivity tasks in the workplace environment (i.e., individuals with ADHD produce fewer items in the preparation area). Additional data analyses will explore job application completion, job interview behavior and item delivery outcomes assessed via a driving simulator.


Conclusions: As youth with ADHD mature, it is important to evaluate performance in young adult settings. Workplace behavior represents on major functional role, and this study will add to an emerging literature on young adult outcomes for individuals with ADHD. 

Gregory A. Fabiano

Professor and Dean for InterInterdisciplinary Research
University of Buffalo

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