Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Complaints of ADHD symptoms in college students are not uncommon and college students frequently self-refer for assessment of ADHD. Some may seek out a diagnosis to obtain academic accommodations and/or stimulant medication. Diagnosing ADHD in college students is largely reliant on self-report measures, and to a lesser extent, objective measures of attention. The typical college student has easy access to information about ADHD, potentially facilitating efforts to simulate self-reported symptoms. The present study examined the ability of college students to effectively simulate ADHD on objective and self-report measures of attention, and examined the relationship between knowledge of ADHD and ability to simulate. It was hypothesized that knowledge of ADHD would be significantly correlated with ability to simulate ADHD on self-report measures but would be less strongly correlated with ability to simulate ADHD on objective measures of attention. Results show that college students were able to successfully simulate ADHD on a retrospective self-report measure of childhood symptoms, but were not as able to simulate ADHD on a commonly used self-report measure of current ADHD symptoms. On objective measures of attention, college students asked to simulate ADHD, scored similarly to participants with ADHD on four subtests of the WAIS-III that have been found to be sensitive to attentional difficulties, but scored markedly worse than ADHD participants on a computerized test of sustained attention and a commonly used test of alternating attention. Clinicians are cautioned against reliance on the WAIS-III for objective measurement of ADHD symptoms.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Wm. Drew Gouvier



Included in

Psychology Commons