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Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms and Life Satisfaction in a Representative Adolescent and Adult Sample

Hennig, Timo PhD*; Koglin, Ute PhD; Schmidt, Sören PhD; Petermann, Franz PhD§; Brähler, Elmar Dr rer biol hum, PhD∥¶

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: September 2017 - Volume 205 - Issue 9 - p 720–724
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000700
Original Articles

Although it is well documented that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with reduced life satisfaction, the mechanisms that might explain this co-occurrence are unclear. We examined the correlation of ADHD symptoms with life satisfaction and whether this association is mediated by (lacking) social support and depressive symptoms. Self-reported ADHD symptoms, life satisfaction, social support, and depressive symptoms were assessed in a representative, predominantly adult sample from the general population (14–91 years, N = 2517). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms correlated negatively with life satisfaction (r = −0.41, p < 0.01), even after demographic factors (gender, age, income) and common risk factors (not being in a relationship, being unemployed) were controlled for (r = −0.39, p < 0.01). Social support mediated up to 23% and depressive symptoms up to 44% in the association between ADHD symptoms and life satisfaction. Counteracting problems with social relationships and treating depressive symptoms may help to increase life satisfaction in adults with ADHD symptoms.

*Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Institute of Psychology, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg; †Department of Special Needs Education & Rehabilitation, University of Oldenburg, Oldenburg; ‡Fresenius University of Applied Sciences, Hamburg; §Center of Clinical Psychology and Rehabilitation, University of Bremen, Bremen; ∥Department of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig; and ¶Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Universal Medical Center Mainz, Mainz, Germany.

Send reprint requests to Timo Hennig, PhD, Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Institute of Psychology, Universität Hamburg, Von-Melle-Park 5, 20146 Hamburg, Germany. E-mail:

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