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Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2012 May 14;10:47. doi: 10.1186/1477-7525-10-47.

Comparison of the burden of illness for adults with ADHD across seven countries: a qualitative study.

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  • 1The Brod Group, Mill Valley, CA 94941, USA.



The purpose of this study was to expand the understanding of the burden of illness experienced by adults with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) living in different countries and treated through different health care systems.


Fourteen focus groups and five telephone interviews were conducted in seven countries in North America and Europe, comprised of adults who had received a diagnosis of ADHD. The countries included Canada, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, and United States (two focus groups in each country). There were 108 participants. The focus groups were designed to elicit narratives of the experience of ADHD in key domains of symptoms, daily life, and social relationships. Consonant with grounded theory, the transcripts were analyzed using descriptive coding and then themed into larger domains.


Participants' statements regarding the presentation of symptoms, childhood experience, impact of ADHD across the life course, addictive and risk-taking behavior, work and productivity, finances, relationships and psychological health impacts were similarly themed across all seven countries. These similarities were expressed through the domains of symptom presentation, childhood experience, medication treatment issues, impacts in adult life and across the life cycle, addictive and risk-taking behavior, work and productivity, finances, psychological and social impacts.


These data suggest that symptoms associated with adult ADHD affect individuals similarly in different countries and that the relevance of the diagnostic category for adults is not necessarily limited to certain countries and sociocultural milieus.

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