Semester of Graduation

Spring 2023


Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Studies (CMST)

Document Type



Social support researchers commonly recognize that support is most useful when it matches the needs and desires of those receiving it. Yet, the majority of research regarding attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and social support frames questions of communication competence by placing neurodiverse communities at odds with neurotypical ones. This practice reinforces a hierarchy in which neurotypical individuals are viewed as correct and deviations from that norm as failures. Individuals with ADHD experience emotions differently than those without it; thus, it stands to reason that people with ADHD could have different needs and desires for support. Therefore, this study has two key goals: to explore the unique social support desires and preferences of ADHD adults and to explore the support gaps that might be experienced by ADHD adults. This is achieved through two studies. During the first study, (N = 20) ADHD adults (18 years and older) participated in semi-structured interviews regarding their goals and preferences for social support and the obstacles they face in receiving it. Notably, all participants discussed the importance of procedural rules such as message timing as a key feature of their supportive experience. During the second study, a survey was distributed to (N = 286) adults with ADHD to identify and analyze various support gaps. This study found a significant relationship between emotional dysregulation and the perception of emotional, esteem, and tangible support gaps.



Committee Chair

Ray, Colter