Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Joshua Langberg


This study examined the impact of several dimensions of executive functioning (EF), as well as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms, in relation to college students’ academic and overall functional impairment. Participants were 62 college students comprehensively diagnosed with ADHD and their parents/guardians who completed measures of symptoms of ADHD, EF, school maladjustment and functional impairment. The primary goal of the study was to evaluate whether parent- and self-ratings of EFs completed at the beginning of the school year longitudinally predict end of the school year academic and overall functioning above and beyond symptoms of ADHD. Mediation analyses controlling for covariates, including gender and transfer student status, were used to determine whether EF deficits mediate the relationship between ADHD symptoms and functioning. Additionally, parent- and student-rated deficits in EFs were examined for agreement as well as the incremental validity of each rater in predicting impairment. Deficits in student-rated self-motivation and parent-rated self-regulation of emotion significantly predicted overall impairment at the end of the year above and beyond symptoms of ADHD. Further, self-report of self-motivation mediated the relationship between ADHD symptoms and overall impairment. In a separate model, student-rated self-organization at the beginning of the year mediated the relationship between ADHD symptoms and end of the year grades. Students with ADHD experience significant difficulties with the transition to college which may lead to the development of increased academic or functional impairment, particularly for students with EF deficits. The present study demonstrates that motivation and organization appear to be particularly important components of academic functioning for college students with ADHD. Overall, findings suggest that EF skills are highly relevant for college students with ADHD with important clinical implications for assessment and treatment. Further studies are needed to confirm the mediational mechanisms of EFs contributing to functional impairments in college students with ADHD.


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