The marital and family functioning of adults with ADHD and their spouses

J Atten Disord. 2004 Aug;8(1):1-10. doi: 10.1177/108705470400800101.


Little is known about the family relationships of adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Thus, the marital adjustment and family functioning of 33 married adults with ADHD and their spouses was compared to 26 non-ADHD control participants and their spouses. Results revealed that married adults with ADHD reported poorer overall marital adjustment on the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS; Spanier, 1989) and more family dysfunction on the Family Assessment Device (FAD; Eptein, Baldwin, & Bishop, 1983) than control adults. The spouses of adults with ADHD did not differ from control spouses in reports of overall marital adjustment and family dysfunction. A greater proportion of their marital adjustment scores, however, fell within the maladjusted range. The ADHD adults' perceptions of the health of their marriages and families were more negative than their spouses' perceptions. The way in which spouses of ADHD adults compensated for their partners' difficulties were explored through clinical interviews. The findings in this study underscore the need for assessments and treatments to address marital and family functioning of adults with ADHD.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology*
  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marital Therapy
  • Marriage / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Psychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Reference Values
  • Spouses / psychology*