Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate functional impairments in a nonreferred sample of adults identifying themselves as having been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by a clinician in their community.
Method: We completed a survey in April and May 2003 of a community sample of 500 adults who reported having received a diagnosis of ADHD in the community and 501 gender- and age-matched comparisons from a national sample representative of the U.S. population.
Results: Adults with self-reports of diagnosed ADHD in the community were significantly less likely to have graduated high school (83% vs. 93% of controls; p < or = .001) or obtain a college degree (19% vs. 26%; p < .01), were less likely to be currently employed (52% vs. 72%; p < or = .001), and had significantly more mean job changes over 10 years (5.4 vs. 3.4 jobs; p < or = .001). They also were significantly more likely to have been arrested (37% vs. 18% of controls; p < or = .001) or divorced (28% vs. 15%; p < or = .001) and were significantly less satisfied (p < or = .001) with their family, social, and professional lives.
Conclusion: Adults who reported having received a diagnosis of ADHD in the community had significant impairment in multiple domains of functioning compared with age- and gender-matched controls without this diagnosis, highly consistent with findings derived from carefully diagnosed referred samples.