UNCG Conducting Major ADHD Study Of College Students

10:51 AM, May 15, 2012   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC-- The road to finding answers on how Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects college students will begin in Greensboro.

Tuesday, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) announced it is heading a research team from three universities to conduct the first-ever study on how ADHD affects college students, both during and after their college years. 

In a news release from UNCG, the university said the research is dubbed the TRAC Project, or Trajectories Related to ADHD in College. The study recognizes that as increasing numbers of young adults with ADHD attend college, there are few guidelines for clinically managing the condition on college campuses. With the aim of helping to develop practices for assessment and treatment that can be used on campuses, the five-year study will explore how ADHD impacts the educational, cognitive, psychological, social and vocational functioning of college students.

The study is made possible through a five-year, $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Who's Who? The three nationally recognized ADHD researchers are psychologists Dr. Arthur D. Anastopoulos of the UNCG Department of Psychology, serving as lead principal investigator; Dr. George J. DuPaul of the Lehigh University Department of Education and Human Services; and Dr. Lisa L. Weyandt of the University of Rhode Island Department of Psychology.

Researchers hope results of the study will increase out understanding of the natural course of ADHD among college students and identify potential targets for assessment and intervention. The data can help to increase the probability that students with ADHD will succeed and graduate from college, thereby impacting their long-term chances for financial stability and positive mental health.

ADHD is described as a chronic disruptive behavior disorder that is associated with long-term impairment in educational attainment, occupational status and social relationships, as well as increased risk for psychopathology and legal difficulties.

The results of a recently conducted national survey involving 250,000 first-year college students found that 5 percent of these incoming students reported having ADHD.

Other research has produced data about ADHD and young adults: Individuals identified as having ADHD in childhood are significantly less likely to graduate from high school and significantly fewer (20-21 percent) go on to post-secondary education relative to their non-ADHD peers (68-78 percent).
-- Children and adolescents with ADHD who do attend college are at increased risk for obtaining significantly lower grade point averages, withdrawing from a significantly greater percentage of courses, and not completing their degree programs relative to control individuals without ADHD.
-- Only 9.1 percent of individuals who continued to display ADHD in young adulthood actually graduated from college compared to 60.6 percent of the normal control group.
-- The lower rate of college degree attainment among young adults with ADHD has critical implications for the long-term financial and mental health status of this population and society at large.
-- Although the exact prevalence of diagnosed ADHD in the college population is unknown, estimates based on large sample studies indicate that approximately 2 to 8 percent of college students report clinically significant symptoms of ADHD.

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