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      The association between attention-deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD) symptoms and self-employment

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          Attention-deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD) symptoms have been associated with the decision to become self-employed. Although these symptoms are generally regarded as disadvantageous, there may also be a bright side. To our knowledge, however, there has been no systematic, epidemiological evidence to support this claim. This paper examines the association between ADHD symptoms and self-employment in a population-based sample from the STAGE cohort of the Swedish Twin Registry (N = 7208). For replication, we used a sample of Dutch students who participated in the Global University Entrepreneurial Spirit Students’ Survey (N = 13,112). In the Swedish sample, we found a positive association with self-employment for both general ADHD symptoms [odds ratio (OR) 1.13; 95 % confidence intervals (CI) 1.04–1.23] and hyperactivity symptoms [OR 1.19; 95 % CI 1.08–1.32], whereas no association was found for attention-deficit symptoms [OR 0.99; 95 % CI 0.89–1.10]. The positive association between hyperactivity and self-employment was replicated in the Dutch student sample [OR 1.09; 95 % CI 1.03–1.15]. Our results show that certain aspects of ADHD, in particular hyperactivity, can have a bright side, as they are positively associated with self-employment.

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          Most cited references 58

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          Behavioral inhibition, sustained attention, and executive functions: constructing a unifying theory of ADHD.

          Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) comprises a deficit in behavioral inhibition. A theoretical model is constructed that links inhibition to 4 executive neuropsychological functions that appear to depend on it for their effective execution: (a) working memory, (b) self-regulation of affect-motivation-arousal, (c) internalization of speech, and (d) reconstitution (behavioral analysis and synthesis). Extended to ADHD, the model predicts that ADHD should be associated with secondary impairments in these 4 executive abilities and the motor control they afford. The author reviews evidence for each of these domains of functioning and finds it to be strongest for deficits in behavioral inhibition, working memory, regulation of motivation, and motor control in those with ADHD. Although the model is promising as a potential theory of self-control and ADHD, far more research is required to evaluate its merits and the many predictions it makes about ADHD.
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            The age-dependent decline of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a meta-analysis of follow-up studies.

            This study examined the persistence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) into adulthood. We analyzed data from published follow-up studies of ADHD. To be included in the analysis, these additional studies had to meet the following criteria: the study included a control group and it was clear from the methods if the diagnosis of ADHD included subjects who did not meet full criteria but showed residual and impairing signs of the disorder. We used a meta-analysis regression model to separately assess the syndromatic and symptomatic persistence of ADHD. When we define only those meeting full criteria for ADHD as having 'persistent ADHD', the rate of persistence is low, approximately 15% at age 25 years. But when we include cases consistent with DSM-IV's definition of ADHD in partial remission, the rate of persistence is much higher, approximately 65%. Our results show that estimates of ADHD's persistence rely heavily on how one defines persistence. Yet, regardless of definition, our analyses show that evidence for ADHD lessens with age. More work is needed to determine if this reflects true remission of ADHD symptoms or is due to the developmental insensitivity of diagnostic criteria for the disorder.
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              The World Health Organization Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS): a short screening scale for use in the general population.

              A self-report screening scale of adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the World Health Organization (WHO) Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS) was developed in conjunction with revision of the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). The current report presents data on concordance of the ASRS and of a short-form ASRS screener with blind clinical diagnoses in a community sample. The ASRS includes 18 questions about frequency of recent DSM-IV Criterion A symptoms of adult ADHD. The ASRS screener consists of six out of these 18 questions that were selected based on stepwise logistic regression to optimize concordance with the clinical classification. ASRS responses were compared to blind clinical ratings of DSM-IV adult ADHD in a sample of 154 respondents who previously participated in the US National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R), oversampling those who reported childhood ADHD and adult persistence. Each ASRS symptom measure was significantly related to the comparable clinical symptom rating, but varied substantially in concordance (Cohen's kappa in the range 0.16-0.81). Optimal scoring to predict clinical syndrome classifications was to sum unweighted dichotomous responses across all 18 ASRS questions. However, because of the wide variation in symptom-level concordance, the unweighted six-question ASRS screener outperformed the unweighted 18-question ASRS in sensitivity (68.7% v. 56.3%), specificity (99.5% v. 98.3%), total classification accuracy (97.9% v. 96.2%), and kappa (0.76 v. 0.58). Clinical calibration in larger samples might show that a weighted version of the 18-question ASRS outperforms the six-question ASRS screener. Until that time, however, the unweighted screener should be preferred to the full ASRS, both in community surveys and in clinical outreach and case-finding initiatives.

                Author and article information

                Eur J Epidemiol
                Eur. J. Epidemiol
                European Journal of Epidemiology
                Springer Netherlands (Dordrecht )
                13 May 2016
                13 May 2016
                : 31
                : 8
                : 793-801
                [1 ]Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, P.O. Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands
                [2 ]Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
                [3 ]Institute for Behavior and Biology (EURIBEB), Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
                [4 ]Professur für Unternehmensführung, Universität Trier, Trier, Germany
                [5 ]Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
                [6 ]Institute of Psychology, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
                [7 ]Montpellier Business School, Montpellier, France
                [8 ]Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
                [9 ]Karolinska Institutet Center of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (KIND), Stockholm, Sweden
                © The Author(s) 2016

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

                Behavioural Epidemiology
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                © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

                Public health

                attention-deficit, hyperactivity, symptoms, adhd, self-employment


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