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  7. Narratives of ADHD: A qualitative study of women's narrative accounts of living with ADHD

Narratives of ADHD: A qualitative study of women's narrative accounts of living with ADHD

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This project is funded by a British Academy / Leverhulme Small Grant award. It is a one-year project that began in April 2015. It is lead by Lindsey O’Dell from the School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care (OU), with Paul Stenner (CCIG, and School of Psychology, OU) and Mary Horton-Salway (formerly Psychology, OU) as co-applicants and Alison Davies as the lead researcher. Taking a qualitative, discursive approach to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder the focus is on the narratives of women in the UK who have either a formal, or self defined, diagnosis of ADHD. Understandings and patterns of diagnosis of ADHD have gendered aspects to them, with the assumption that it affects boys and men. The study will contribute to knowledge on the lives of girls and women with ADHD, examining women’s retrospective accounts to make sense of their transition through childhood to become adults with ADHD. The project is an exploratory study to collect a new, small corpus of qualitative data on women with ADHD and to identify issues to be explored in a future larger scale research project. The project aims to carry out a discursive analysis of women’s narratives to: 

  • Investigate the identity work of women in relation to their experiences of living with ADHD 
  • Explore (possible) differences in the way women assumed an ADHD identity in either childhood or adulthood; in order to examine how ADHD impacted upon their childhood and the role of diagnosis in childhood, later in adulthood or self-identification 
  • Explore how women account retrospectively for ADHD in their childhood and how they construe their transitions to adulthood This will be of interest to qualitative researchers in ADHD, gender and disability studies and practitioners in health, social care and education.

The Project Team are: 
Dr Lindsay O’Dell
Professor Paul Stenner
Dr Alison Davies
Dr Mary Horton-Salway

Final report (pdf)