“I wish I’d known earlier about Adult ADHD.” That came through loudly as the recurring theme of responses to the ADHD Partner Survey question: “What do you wish you’d known earlier about ADHD?” [Note: I …
ADHD Partner Survey
The ADHD Partner Survey is the largest, most comprehensive survey on Adult ADHD. But not solely relationship issues.
In 64 questions, I asked 164 partners of adults diagnosed with ADHD about everything from employment to health conditions. Their own and their ADHD partners.
Why did I survey the partners and not the adults themselves? Great question! I explain that below.
The ADHD Partner Survey queried respondents on a range of topics, including:
- ADHD and relationships—from many angles
- Health issues (for the ADHD partner and the respondents)
- Experiences in finding ADHD treatment and couple therapy
- Much more
Each post in this section will share results. I will be sharing more results over the coming months.
To more about why and how I conducted the survey: About the ADHD Partner Survey.
My journalistic training included studying statistics and research methods. I put it to good use with this survey.
For the data to have any meaning, the respondents had to be qualified and methods rigorous.
This was an immense undertaking, especially given that I started it in 2004. (Load times for each occurrence of editing the online questions took forever!)
Remember: Adult ADHD was barely being recognized then. ADHD-related relationship challenges? Mostly not on anyone’s radar.
The notable exceptions? Daniel Amen, MD, and Russell Barkley, PhD. I will eternally appreciate their early validation and support.
2020: Still Largest, Most Rigorous Survey on ADHD And Relationships
To date, the ADHD Partner Survey is the largest, most comprehensive survey on this subject. The questions went far beyond “relationship” issues. They covered a range of issues specifically affecting the ADHD partner as an individual, too.
- The survey was not randomly constructed and posted on a website for anyone to take. Rather, I interviewed each potential respondent and had been following their stories. I could track survey responses, anonymously, by randomized code.
- The survey had conditional logic on dozens of topics. Only those who were, for example, entrepreneurs, answered questions on those topics
- Most scientific studies involve people with ADHD who either are already diagnosed or are pursuing treatment (so-called “clinic-referred” patients). The ADHD Partner Survey covered that population. But it also offers a rarer, more intimate glimpse into lives wherein ADHD has gone unrecognized and untreated for decades—and firmly remained that way.
- In 2014, when Russell Barkley, PhD, asked me to write the first-ever chapter on couple therapy for his “gold standard” ADHD clinical guide, he approved of including survey data. That’s because, even almost 14 years after the survey, it was still the best data. And remains so in 2021.
- Many of my findings have since been replicated in published research. For all those years I was a lone voice in the wilderness, this comes as welcome news.
The 111 respondents (a subset of 164 total respondents who had an official ADHD diagnosis) show the following demographics:
- 86 percent had male partners and 14 percent had female partners.
- Most reported being in heterosexual relationships, with 6 percent being in same-sex relationships.
- Ages ranged from 22 to 75 (with the majority from 36 to 53).
- Most respondents lived in the United States, but 14 percent resided in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or Israel.
- 50 percent were college graduates and 28 percent held postgraduate degrees. (By contrast, only 26 percent of their ADHD partners were college grads, but 29 percent held postgraduate degrees.)
- Of the 71 percent who disclosed annual household income, 50 percent reported earning $91,000 and above, and 20 percent reported earning $50,000 or below.
How did you learn your partner has ADHD? That was one of 64 questions in the ADHD Partner Survey. Put another way: What as your “lightbulb moment”? You’ll find the results below. How about …
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To read the two-part story that accompanies this chart, click here to visit Gina’s Adult ADHD Relationships blog.
There I was, sitting on the floor poring over every study and article I could find on how Adult ADHD can affect parenting. I was preparing to present on the topic at the CADDAC conference …