Social:Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale

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Short description: Self-reported questionnaire used to assist in the diagnosis of ADHD in adults
Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale
Medical diagnostics

The Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS) Symptom Checklist is a self-reported questionnaire used to assist in the diagnosis of adult ADHD. ADHD is a neurological disorder that can present itself in adolescence and adulthood. Some individuals can outgrow ADHD but around 30% will continue to have ADHD throughout their adulthood.[1] Adults with ADHD may experience difficulties in relation to cognitive, academic, occupational, social and economic situations.[1]

The PhenX Toolkit uses ASRS as its adult protocol for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms.[2]


ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can present itself in adolescence and adulthood. Most individuals, but not all, can outgrow ADHD; about 30% will continue to have ADHD throughout adulthood.[1] Adults with ADHD may experience difficulties in relation to cognitive, academic, occupational, social and economic situations.[3]

ADHD has no single cause but can be genetically inherited in many cases, and roughly 76% of those diagnosed inherited it from their parent(s). For the remaining percentage of individuals, 14-15%, ADHD may have been caused due to their environment, such as trauma in the womb or during birth.[1] Changes in the genes that influence the neurochemicals serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine levels can cause them to be overactive or under active, possibly playing a role in the development of an individual with ADHD.[4] It has also been shown that activity in the frontal lobe is decreased in an individual with ADHD compared to an individual without ADHD.[1] The Adult ADHD Self-Reporting Scale (ASRS) was created to estimate the pervasiveness of an adult with ADHD in an easy self survey.[5]

The ASRS was developed in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Workgroup on Adult ADHD which included researchers from New York University Medical School and Harvard Medical School. The ASRS has eighteen questions, which are consistent with the DSM-IV[6] criteria and address ADHD symptoms in adults. The six question ASRS Screener was later developed as a subset of the WHO's eighteen question ASRS. At least one study has found that the six question ASRS Screener outperformed the eighteen question ASRS in diagnosing ADHD in the general population.[7]

ASRS has been adapted to other languages including Spanish and Chinese.[8][9] Conducted research proved that the scale is a valid and useful tool for the screening of adult ADHD.[10] The ASRS was externally validated on approximately 60 adult patients, and showed high internal consistency and high concurrent validity with the physician-administered ADHD rating system.[10]

Development and History

Self rating scales are generally useful tools because they create a way to collect a large, accurate amount of data in an organized, quick, and cost effective way.[11] The diagnostic criteria originally designed for determining whether an individual was experiencing ADHD symptoms was designed for children.[12] This criteria has been criticized for being too limiting for adults and the symptoms that can sometimes present themselves in adults with ADHD such as procrastination, poor motivation and time management difficulties.[12]


Each question can be answered on a five item Likert scale, based on a scale of frequency ranging from "Never" to "Very Often". Answers are scored as either positive or negative and the threshold is different for individual questions. Answers of "Never" and "Rarely" are always scored negative, answers of "Often and Very Often" are always scored positive, and answers of "Sometimes" are scored positively in only seven of the eighteen questions. Four or more positive answers in Part A is indicative of ADHD symptoms.

The Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Self-Reporting Rating Scale (ASRS) is composed of 18 questions, and uses a scale that ranges from 0-4 based on the individual's mark in either the "never, rarely, sometimes, often, very often" column for a possible total score of 72. Each column is used to describe the severity of the individuals symptoms based on the question asked. The participant is asked to make a mark within one column for each question that best describes their answer.[13] The questions are split up into 2 separate parts; Part A consists of questions 1-6 and Part B consists of questions 7-18. If four or more answers are scored “positive” then a high consistency of ADHD is indicated and further follow up with a licensed clinician is necessary.[13] Positive scores in Part B can be further identifying cues of the individuals symptoms.[13]


The Adult ADHD Self Report Scale is used to test the probability of adults, (18 years and older), having ADHD(4). The ADHD Self-Reporting Scale for adults is also used to determine if someone with a substance use disorder has a comorbid disorder of ADHD.[13]


There have been studies done to test the validity and reliability of the ASRS by comparing results of participants that were diagnosed with childhood ADHD, after completing the self reporting on their own and then were subsequently tested with a clinician. There was high correlation between the grouped symptoms (hyperactivity/impulsiveness and inattentiveness) when comparing the administration results of the tests.[10] After an experiment with 60 adults, whom completed the self rating scale and whose results were compared to their ratings with an administered ADHD rating scale, the results showed that the self rating scale has a high internal reliability and also validity.[10]


The Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale is only applicable for adults with diagnosed or undiagnosed ADHD. A positive screening is not a proper diagnosis, but an indication that the adult should seek a healthcare professional for further analysis.[11] Although the 6 question ASRS screener can be effective in diagnosing ADHD in adults and can be completed quickly, it can not rule out other medical conditions that could be impacting the diagnosis of ADHD.[12] Some symptoms of ADHD do contain some overlap with other mental disorders that are not tested for within the ASRS.[14] Other limitations, such as paying attention to possible comorbid conditions and history of the individual (such as substance abuse issues), need to be considered when comparing their results to the scale. Keeping in mind that the symptoms must be ongoing, these symptoms can not be considered indicators of ADHD if they've only been present for the past few months or even years.[1]

See also

  • Diagnostic classification and rating scales used in psychiatry


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Chandler, J., Yarmouth, M. F., Apnea, S., Apnea, D. S., & Diagnosing, A. (2002). What is ADHD. Retrieved April, 15, 2007.
  2. "Protocol Overview: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms - Adult". RTI International. 17 January 2017. 
  3. Gray, Sarah; Woltering, Steven; Mawjee, Karizma; Tannock, Rosemary (25 March 2014). "The Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS): utility in college students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder". PeerJ 2: e324. doi:10.7717/peerj.324. PMID 24711973. 
  4. Namy, Laura L.; Lilienfeld, Scott O.; Woolf, Nancy Jean (5 July 2013). Psychology : from inquiry to understanding. Boston: Pearson. ISBN 978-0205960057. 
  5. Kessler, RC; Adler, L; Ames, M; Demler, O; Faraone, S; Hiripi, E; Howes, MJ; Jin, R et al. (February 2005). "The World Health Organization Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS): a short screening scale for use in the general population.". Psychological Medicine 35 (2): 245–56. doi:10.1017/S0033291704002892. PMID 15841682. 
  6. American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed., Text Revision. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association. pp. 85–93. OCLC 43483668. 
  7. Kessler, Ronald C.; Adler, Lenard; Ames, Minnie et al. (February 2005). "The World Health Organization Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS): a short screening scale for use in the general population". Psychological Medicine 35 (2): 245–56. doi:10.1017/S0033291704002892. PMID 15841682. 
  8. Yeh, Chin-Bin; Gau, Susan Shur-Fen; Kessler, Ronald C.; Wu, Yu-Yu (March 2008). "Psychometric properties of the Chinese version of the adult ADHD Self-report Scale". International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research 17 (1): 45–54. doi:10.1002/mpr.241. PMID 18286465. 
  9. Ramos-Quiroga, JA; Daigre, C; Valero, S; Bosch, R; Gómez-Barros, N; Nogueira, M; Palomar, G; Roncero, C et al. (1 May 2009). "Validación al español de la escala de cribado del trastorno por déficit de atención/hiperactividad en adultos (ASRS v. 1.1): una nueva estrategia de puntuación" (in Spanish). Revista de Neurología 48 (9): 449–52. doi:10.33588/rn.4809.2008677. PMID 19396760. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Adler, Lenard A.; Spencer, Thomas; Faraone, Stephen V.; Kessler, Ronald C.; Howes, Mary J.; Biederman, Joseph; Secnik, Kristina (July 2006). "Validity of Pilot Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS) to Rate Adult ADHD Symptoms" (pdf). Annals of Clinical Psychiatry 18 (3): 145–148. doi:10.1080/10401230600801077. PMID 16923651. Retrieved 2020-04-22. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Treumer, Taryn Nicole (28 March 2015). "Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale: Implentation In A Primary Care Setting". North Dakota State University. "A Dissertation Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the North Dakota State University of Agriculture and Applied Science" 
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Hines, J. L.; King, T. S.; Curry, W. J. (7 November 2012). "The Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale for Screening for Adult Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)". The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 25 (6): 847–853. doi:10.3122/jabfm.2012.06.120065. PMID 23136325. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Daigre Blanco, C; Ramos-Quiroga, JA; Valero, S; Bosch, R; Roncero, C; Gonzalvo, B; Nogueira, M (2009). "Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS-v1.1) symptom checklist in patients with substance use disorders.". Actas Espanolas de Psiquiatria 37 (6): 299–305. PMID 20066581. 
  14. Stanton, Kasey; Forbes, Miriam K.; Zimmerman, Mark (December 2018). "Distinct dimensions defining the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale: Implications for assessing inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms.". Psychological Assessment 30 (12): 1549–1559. doi:10.1037/pas0000604. PMID 29878817. 


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