Validation of the Mind Excessively Wandering Scale and the Relationship of Mind Wandering to Impairment in Adult ADHD

J Atten Disord. 2019 Apr;23(6):624-634. doi: 10.1177/1087054716651927. Epub 2016 Jun 2.


Objective: This study investigates excessive mind wandering (MW) in adult ADHD using a new scale: the Mind Excessively Wandering Scale (MEWS).

Method: Data from two studies of adult ADHD was used in assessing the psychometric properties of the MEWS. Case-control differences in MW, the association with ADHD symptoms, and the contribution to functional impairment were investigated.

Results: The MEWS functioned well as a brief measure of excessive MW in adult ADHD, showing good internal consistency (α > .9), and high sensitivity (.9) and specificity (.9) for the ADHD diagnosis, comparable with that of existing ADHD symptom rating scales. Elevated levels of MW were found in adults with ADHD, which contributed to impairment independently of core ADHD symptom dimensions.

Conclusion: Findings suggest excessive MW is a common co-occurring feature of adult ADHD that has specific implications for the functional impairments experienced. The MEWS has potential utility as a screening tool in clinical practice to assist diagnostic assessment.

Keywords: ADHD; functional impairment; mental restlessness; mind wandering; task-unrelated thoughts (TUTs).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / complications*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / physiopathology*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Executive Function / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term*
  • Mindfulness*
  • Wandering Behavior