On May 9, 2017, the APA Journals Dialogue podcast featured UNCG Professor Arthur Anastopoulos and his collaborators from the University of Rhode Island and Lehigh University. The researchers are wrapping up a $3 million, five-year longitudinal NIH study on ADHD in college students.
“… children with ADHD will go on to four-year colleges at much lower rates and even finish college at much lower rates than the general population. And those who do remain in school tend to perform less well,” said Dr. Anastopoulos, in explaining the importance of the project.
College is a particularly fraught time for young adults with ADHD, as they lose the support that comes with high school and home life and begin to manage personal goals and activities on their own.
The “Trajectories Related to ADHD in College” (TRAC) study looks at the variables that contribute to successes and failures in dealing with ADHD across the college years.
TRAC is one of the first comprehensive studies of ADHD among college students. It is also the largest study that compares functioning of college students with ADHD to that of peers without ADHD.
During the podcast, the researchers discussed study results and recommendations so far, particularly as they related to their recent publication in Neuropsychology.
As expected, students with ADHD showed poorer executive functioning compared to peers without ADHD. Students with ADHD who took medication performed better on some measures of executive functioning, but, unexpectedly, these improvements were not present across all measures. The researchers were also surprised to find that the majority of students with ADHD in the study were not taking medication.
The collaborators stressed the importance of getting support services to college students with ADHD in their first semester. “… we found that they are at greater risk academically right from the get-go,” explained Dr. Weyandt of the University of Rhode Island. Because some students with ADHD do not register with disability support services, the researchers recommended that universities reach out to the general student population to provide information about available services.
To learn more about the study’s unique design and interesting findings, listen to the fifteen-minute APA Journals Dialogue episode or read the transcript.
Learn more about Dr. Anastopoulos’s research program in “Closing the Collegiate Gap in ADHD Research” in the fall 2015 issue UNCG Research Magazine.