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8.6: A Student Example- “A Critique of ‘Self-Report of ADHD Symptoms in University Students” by Ashley Nelson

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    The assignment for this student was similar to the one described earlier in this chapter, to write a brief critique essay about an important piece of research. Ashley’s topic was on the use (and misuse) of drugs to treat attention deficit disorders in adult-aged patients. Ashley’s essay begins with an introduction that explains how this exercise fits into her overall research project and a brief summary of the article she is critiquing. But most of her essay focuses on her critique of the article.

    A Critique of “Self-Report of ADHD Symptoms in University Students: Cross-Gender and Cross-National Prevalence,” by George J. DuPaul, Elizabeth A. Schaughency, Lisa L. Weyandt, Gail Tripp, Jeff Kiesner, Kenji Ota, and Heidy Stanish

    While researching my topic, I came across many article that were interesting and that I thought could be useful for me with my research topic. When I read “Self-Report of ADHD Symptoms in University Students: Cross-Gender and Cross-National Prevalence,” by George J. DuPaul et al, I knew it would be a good article to critique, too.

    The article explains the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and describes an experiment with university students in the United States, New Zealand, and Italy. 1,209 students took two different self-reported surveys. The goal of the survey was to examine the percentage of students who have ADHD symptoms, if symptoms vary between gender and country, and also to find out if symptom patterns agree with the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The DSM creates the criteria to diagnose ADHD in young children. Most of the research on ADHD has been conducted with young children; therefore understanding the symptoms in college students has not been widely studied (370).

    The results showed that gender was not a big factor in the United States. However, in Italy and New Zealand women had about a ten percent increase in the hyperactive-impulsive category. The results also proved that using the age adjusted diagnostic criteria, compared to the DSM, more college students reported having either one symptom or both.

    I think this article is good for several reasons. DuPaul and his colleagues explain what ADHD is and why it is important for college students to be diagnosed with the right criteria. The authors are also clearly experts in their fields. I also liked this article because the authors provide very good details about the results of their study.

    DuPaul et al explain that ADHD “is characterized by developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention and impulsivity, and motor activity” (370). ADHD begins usually in early childhood. If a child is not treated for the disease, the symptoms will still appear in adulthood. These factors lead to “university students being at a higher risk for academic impairment and underachievement relative to their counterparts without ADHD” (370). Despite the risks to college students, according to DuPaul et al, most of the research on ADHD has focused on children, which is one of the motivations for this study in the first place.

    The authors of this article were clearly qualified to conduct this study, too. Most of the researchers are college professors in psychology departments around the country and around the world. Further, most of the researchers specialize in issues having to do with ADHD (370). I think the authors’ qualifications show that they are all motivated and dedicated to help people with this disease. This experience and dedication makes me believe that these writers conducted a credible study.

    I also like this article because the authors do a good job of explaining their research and the results. They provide lots of information about the results throughout the article, and they also provide a number of useful tables, too. The authors believe that the DSM’s standards of criteria for what counts as ADHD are wrong for young adults because it was created for children. So the researchers constructed a 24 item survey called the Young Adult Rating Scale that was based on traditional ADHD symptoms and on symptoms that would appear in college-aged young people (372).

    The researchers point out that there were a variety of limitations with their study. For example, the students who participated in the survey were only from five different universities. In addition, the students were not asked any personal questions that could have effected the outcome of the survey (378). However, DuPaul and his colleagues believe that this study helps to pave the way for future students which “would provide a better understanding of the age-related changes associated with ADHD symptoms and the relevance of these changes to diagnostic criteria for ADHD in university students and other adults” (378).

    I think that “Self-Report of ADHD Symptoms in University Students” is an informative and interesting article, one I would certainly recommend to anyone interested in learning more about ADHD in young adults. DuPaul and his colleagues explained and interpreted the results of their survey very effectively.

    Work Cited:

    DuPaul, George; Elizabeth A. Schaughency, Lisa L. Weyandt, Gail Tripp, Jeff Kiesner, Kenji Ota, and Heidy Stanish. “Self-Report of ADHD Symptoms in University Students: Cross-Gender and Cross-National Prevalence.” Journal of Learning Disabilities. 34.4 (July/August 2001). 370-379.

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