ADHD News & Research

Study: Symptoms of ADHD Associated with Greater Vulnerability to Pandemic Challenges

People with ADHD are more vulnerable to the challenges created by the pandemic, according to a recent study. Specifically, ADHD symptoms predicted below-average economic outcomes, mental health indices, and adherence to preventive measures.

July 19, 2021

Higher levels of ADHD symptoms predict lower-than-average economic outcomes, mental health indices, and adherence to preventive measures in response to challenges created by the pandemic, according to a new study out of Israel. Additionally, ADHD symptoms were linked to higher perceived risk of contracting COVID-19 but also to perceptions that encourage non-adherence to preventive measures, according to a Journal of Attention Disorders1 study.

Data was drawn from 2,055 Israeli adults who completed an online survey after the first quarantine. Participants provided information about financial status, adherence to preventive measures, mental health, and COVID-19 related perceptions.

High symptoms of ADHD were associated with poor adaptation to pandemic challenges — namely, less optimal behavioral, emotional, and perceptual responses — as reflected in the findings outlined below.

Financial decline: Higher level of ADHD symptoms correlated to lower position and income, particularly during the pandemic. Inattention, rather than hyperactivity/impulsivity, predicted this inverse relationship.

Lower Adherence to Preventive Measures: Severe ADHD was correlated with non-adherence to preventive COVID measures, which reflected greater risk-taking behavior, lower perceived severity of the illness, and greater distrust regarding the efficacy of adhering to preventive measures.

Higher Psychological Distress: The direct correlation between level of ADHD symptoms and psychological distress was not unique to the pandemic and appeared linked to financial decline.

Researchers concluded that people with elevated ADHD symptoms are more vulnerable to challenges created by the pandemic and therefore deserve special attention and care. Vocational and mental counseling can help, as well as a healthy lifestyle that includes optimal adherence to preventive measures.

Sources

1 Pollak Y, Shoham R, Dayan H, Gabrieli-Seri O, Berger I. Symptoms of ADHD Predict Lower Adaptation to the COVID-19 Outbreak: Financial Decline, Low Adherence to Preventive Measures, Psychological Distress, and Illness-Related Negative Perceptions. Journal of Attention Disorders. June 2021. doi:10.1177/10870547211027934

Updated on July 19, 2021

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