Disclosure of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder may minimize risk of social rejection


The vast majority of young adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) report interpersonal difficulties, which are likely exacerbated by others' negative perceptions of ADHD. Therefore, researchers and clinicians have called for the development of attitude change strategies. One strategy is preventative disclosure, in which one selectively informs and educates others about their condition. No known research has explored preventative disclosure with ADHD. To examine the effects of disclosure, 306 young adults read vignettes that varied in a two (ADHD symptom presentation: hyperactive/impulsive vs. inattentive) by two (preventative disclosure vs. nondisclosure) design. A factor analysis of the questions following each vignette resulted in two factors: Socially Rejecting Attitudes (alpha = .82) and Potential Benefits with Treatment (alpha = .61). Results suggest that preventative disclosure may greatly reduce Socially Rejecting Attitudes (d = -.95). When ADHD was disclosed, respondents were more likely to report that the character would benefit from treatment (d = .39). A character presenting with hyperactive/impulsive (compared to inattentive) symptoms was more likely to be viewed as potentially benefiting from treatment (d = .50). If the results of the present study replicate with clinical samples, preventative disclosure could have a significant impact on the psychosocial functioning of people with ADHD.

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