ADHD News & Research

Emotional Dysregulation Symptoms of ADHD Prevalent, Accurately Assessed by Self-Reported Scale

A self-reported scale called SR-WRAADDS was found to reliably assess and report all ADHD symptom domains in adults — most notably, facets of emotional dysregulation — according to a new study.

July 7, 2021

Emotional dysregulation (ED), though excluded from the DSM-5 condition criteria, is a core feature of ADHD that can be divided into two domains: emotional outbursts and emotional lability, which is more common in women. This is one finding of a new study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders,1 that found the Self-Reported Wender-Reimherr Adult Attention Deficit Disorder Scale (SR-WRAADDS) reliably and accurately assesses the broad range of symptoms associated with adult ADHD, including ED.

Study participants — 369 adults with ADHD and 251 controls — completed the SR-WRAADDS and questionnaires about ADHD, depression, and ED. While several other tools do exist to assess ED, they were not created for clinical populations and therefore do not reflect the specific aspects of ED in ADHD. The SR-WRAADDS is unique in this way.

Studying the SR-WRAADDS data, researchers discovered an “emotional impulsivity with outbursts” component related to ED linked to temper outbursts, tantrums, and irritability in adults with ADHD. This finding confirms the prevalence of ED and that impulsivity has major social and emotional consequences for adults with ADHD. “Emotional lability” — or emotional fluctuations, cyclothymic features, and stress vulnerability — was independently associated with female gender and history of depression.

Researchers concluded that the SR-WRAADDS provided a fine-grained reading of ED symptoms found in adults with ADHD. Pinpointing specific ADHD symptoms, and distinguishing facets of ED, can help adapt the care of patients and provide them with strategies to manage symptoms and diminish the functional burden of ED.


1 Weibel S, Bicego F, Muller S, et al. Two Facets of Emotion Dysregulation Are Core Symptomatic Domains in Adult ADHD: Results from the SR-WRAADDS, a Broad Symptom Self-Report Questionnaire. Journal of Attention Disorders. June 2021. doi:10.1177/10870547211027647