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How do adolescents with ADHD perceive and experience stress? An interview study.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
2019 (English)In: Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, ISSN 0803-9488, E-ISSN 1502-4725, p. 1-8Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Background: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is linked to high levels of perceived stress in adult populations. Thus, it is not surprising that stress managing techniques are being included in treatment protocols for adults with ADHD. There is, however, a paucity of studies on perceived stress in adolescents with ADHD. Aims: This study aims to explore how adolescents with ADHD perceive and experience stress (and stressors) using a qualitative approach. Methods: Explorative interviews were conducted with 20 adolescents (Mean age: 16.30) diagnosed with ADHD in conjunction with group treatment therapy. Data were analysed using qualitative content analysis. Results: Stress and ADHD, as well as stress, anxiety and ill-health, were described as closely intertwined. The result is presented in four categories: stress is often present, triggers of stress, stress affects daily life, and stress can be handled and prevented. A relation was found between stress and feelings of helplessness, ill-health and anxiety. Stress was viewed as being out of proportion with reality and was driven by such factors as ADHD symptoms, school demands, unpredictable situations and relational problems. Several negative consequences of stress were reported, including postponing schoolwork and the tendency to give up. Some participants also reported performing better when stressed. Accepting help from others, practising acceptance, settling down and controlling oneself, and planning in advance were seen as helpful stress managing techniques. Conclusions: Stress should be considered among other problems related to ADHD. Psychoeducation about stress, stress managing techniques and coaching should be included in the treatment of adolescents with ADHD.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. p. 1-8
Keywords [en]
ADHD, adolescents, perceived stress, qualitative
National Category
Psychiatry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-395260DOI: 10.1080/08039488.2019.1677771PubMedID: 31613179OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-395260DiVA, id: diva2:1361551
Available from: 2019-10-16 Created: 2019-10-16 Last updated: 2019-10-16

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