Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale

Issue the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale to patients who suspect themselves of having ADHD to help them decide their next treatment and assessment steps.

By Matt Olivares on May 15, 2024.

Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

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What is ADHD?

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is a type of developmental disorder. Those with it tend to have difficulty keeping their attention on something for too long, and this happens frequently. They can also become hyperactive and impulsive. It's possible for this developmental disorder to negatively impact a person's daily life and overall mental well-being because of the following:

  • They have frequent mood swings
  • They become easily frustrated, and their tempers run hot
  • They become restless and jump from one activity to another
  • They have trouble completing a task or activity
  • They easily lose focus, which isn't good for important things like work
  • They have a hard time prioritizing something
  • They tend to be disorganized
  • They aren't able to plan well as well as they'd like (or others would like)
  • They get easily stressed and have trouble coping
  • They tend to interrupt others
  • They tend to talk excessively
  • They need to be on the move
  • They have difficulty waiting

These days, some people are diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder during their childhood, so once they hit the adult phase of their life, it's common for them to manage ADHD symptoms and live normally without the disorder disrupting their life.

However, many people get diagnosed when they are adults. That's because they were likely unaware of their symptoms, or rather the symptoms weren't noticeable back then but have only begun to be noticeable when they were older.

If you're handling a patient who suspects themselves of having ADHD or is suspected by someone close to them, then issue the to assess them.

Printable Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale

Download this Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale and distribute to client presenting ADHD symptoms.

Printable Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale

Download this Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale and distribute to client presenting ADHD symptoms.

How to use the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale

The Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale is an eighteen-item diagnostic assessment. You only need to issue it to your patients and have them complete it independently, then have them submit fully-accomplished copies to you as soon as they're done. It's divided into two parts. Part A has six items, while Part B has twelve. The former is considered to be the most important one because they are the most predictive of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

Part A has the following questions:

  1. How often do you have trouble wrapping up the final details of a project, once the challenging parts have been done?
  2. How often do you have difficulty getting things in order when you have to do a task that requires organization?
  3. How often do you have problems remembering appointments or obligations?
  4. When you have a task that requires a lot of thought, how often do you avoid or delay getting started?
  5. How often do you fidget or squirm with your hands or feet when you have to sit down for a long time?
  6. How often do you feel overly active and compelled to do things, like you were driven by a motor?

Part B has questions like:

  • How often do you make careless mistakes when you have to work on a boring or difficult project?
  • How often are you distracted by activity or noise around you?
  • How often do you feel restless or fidgety? 
  • How often do you interrupt others when they are busy? 

All these questions can be answered with the following options:

  • Never
  • Rarely
  • Sometimes
  • Often
  • Very often

These choices can be selected using checkboxes. Some checkboxes have a darker shade than others. The darker shade represents the possibility that the adult patient answering the questionnaire has ADHD, so if they check four or more shaded boxes in Part A, that indicates that they have ADHD.

However, this scale doesn't confirm things and should not be the sole assessment for diagnosing ADHD. After receiving a fully-accomplished scale, have them expand on their answers, conduct other ADHD screening tests, and then cross-check all the symptoms based on the diagnostic criteria for ADHD in the most updated version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale example

Now that you know the basic gist of what Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is, as well as what the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale is, it's time to see what it looks like! We just used the scale created by the World Health Organization in collaboration with Lenard Adler, Ronald C. Kessler, and Thomas Spencer. We added a comments box so you can take notes when your patient expands on their answers. 

If you like what you see and believe this will help you screen patients for ADHD, then by all means, download a free Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale PDF template from our platform!

Download this Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale example:

Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale Example

When is it best to use the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale?

The best time to use the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale will depend on the person using it. Are you a healthcare professional who specializes in treating patients for developmental disorders? Then you should always have copies of this ready when a patient presents themselves during a scheduled appointment.

If they discuss things about themselves that indicate Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, then educate them about the disorder and ask if they would like to be assessed. If they agree to be assessed, you may introduce the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale.

You can have them answer the questionnaire on the spot, or you can have them take home the scale and submit it during the next scheduled appointment. It's best to ask them first because the patient has the right to decide if they want to go through an ADHD clinical diagnosis process.

If you're not a healthcare professional and you've stumbled upon this guide, you can use the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale for yourself. You can answer it anytime you want. If you have four or more answers in the darker checkboxes in Part A, and if you have several others in Part B, please schedule a check-up with a professional so they can conduct a comprehensive examination that will determine appropriate treatment steps.

What are the benefits of using the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale?

It's a quick and easy questionnaire to answer

The Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale is a simple questionnaire with easy-to-answer questions. It doesn't require patients to expound on their answers when they answer the sheet (that's reserved for the later parts of the comprehensive examination). They simply need to tick whichever answer applies to them based on what's being asked. It should only take five minutes, that is, if they more or less know what answers to pick; though, don't be surprised if it takes longer than five minutes.

Professionals can immediately decide what to do next

The Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale is an effective questionnaire despite its simplicity. It is widely used and relied on because it can detect the likeliness of adults having ADHD. Accomplishing it can yield immediate results that professionals can work with as they continue to screen the patient through other means. Once they've cross-checked everything with the criteria for ADHD in the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, they can make an official diagnosis and then create a personalized treatment plan that focuses on the most severe symptoms.

It can help patients become more aware of their symptoms

Speaking of taking longer than five minutes, if that is the case with your patient, they will likely be thinking about each question long enough to give a definite answer. Many adults with ADHD are unaware that they have ADHD until they find themselves in a situation where they learn they are likely to have it.

The scale requires their input, so you can say it is subjective. This isn't bad because that means the patient, more or less, will be able to recognize their symptoms and their severity. Knowing about it is helpful because they will be able to expound on their answers based on what they realized about themselves. They will know what to focus on post-official ADHD diagnosis so they can manage their ADHD.

How long does it take to accomplish the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale?
How long does it take to accomplish the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale?

Commonly asked questions

How long does it take to accomplish the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale?

It shouldn’t take longer than five minutes, but it’s totally fine if your patient takes longer than that. Just make sure to come to an agreement as to when you should receive a fully-accomplished copy from them.

How do you score this?

There’s no scoring for this scale. What you need to look out for is if they pick answers that are in boxes with a darker shade. If they have four or more in Part A, and they also have a bunch under Part B, you will need to conduct a further examination of your patient.

I’m not a healthcare professional, but I want to assess myself. Am I allowed to use this?

You’re definitely allowed to use this. It’s a self-report scale, after all. However, please do not self-diagnose yourself with ADHD. If you have four or more answers in the shaded boxes of Part A, please go see a professional for help so they can better assess your symptoms of ADHD.

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