• Camilla Skovhus Tøttrup
4. term, Psychology, Master (Master Programme)
Background: ADHD is being discussed more than ever before, and its validity is frequently
challenged in the public debate. Existing research reveals a gap in understanding how the skeptic
portrayal of ADHD can have an impact on individuals with an ADHD diagnosis. This study aims to
explore the influence of interpersonal relationships and societal discussion on the self-image of
individuals living with ADHD.
Theoretical framework: The study is centered upon both psychological and sociological theories.
The social-psychological view is presented by Henri Tajfel, Marilynn Brewer & Wendi Gardner.
Whereas the sociological theories are presented by Anthony Giddens, Ove Kaj Pedersen, Anders
Petersen, and Ulrich Beck.
Method: 1:1qualitiative interviews with three young participants diagnosed with ADHD. The data
was analyzed based on the principles of thematic analysis, defined by Braun and Clark (2006). The
study used Vivien Burrs’ definition of social constructionism as an ontological position.
Results: The self-image of young people diagnosed with ADHD is not directly influenced by the
negative public debate. It can have an indirect negative impact on the individual diagnosed with
ADHD if individuals in close relation to them have gained a negative impression through societal
debate and question the diagnosis, thereby posing a threat to the self-image of the individual with
ADHD. For the participants in this study, receiving an ADHD diagnosis has been positive, as it has
provided an opportunity for a deeper understanding of their own challenges, how to manage them,
and validation that the difficulties they experienced were real.
Conclusions: The study’ findings help understanding how receiving an ADHD diagnosis has a
positive impact on individuals who have experienced difficulties due to ADHD.
Despite the societal debate, it is evident that the challenges the individual faced prior to diagnosis
had such impact that the diagnosis became a powerful tool in managing these. External opinions,
including the societal debate, are not as important for the individual as long as they do not hinder
them from taking control of the challenges posed by ADHD. During the process it lowers the
negative thoughts caused by the ADHD symptoms and therefore brings down the prominent and
central role it had in their self-image. Therefore, as a society, it is worth reflecting on whether the
ongoing debate is sufficiently nuanced to provide a comprehensive understanding of what it is like
to be an individual diagnosed with ADHD in a world that debates their disability and furthermore
extensively questions its existence.
Publication date9 Jun 2023
Number of pages53
ID: 533837796