Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology

Marital impact of adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology 2014; 24: Supplement S60-S60
Read: 806 Published: 18 February 2021

Objectives: Adult Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has profound disastrous effects on close relationships and marriage as well, through deficits in executive functions, attention and impulsivity. ADHD spouse fail to meet his/her responsibilities because of forgetfulness, disorganization and distractibility and may render a small conşict into a big quarrel because of impulsivity. Difficulty in listening may end up with conşicts remaining unresolved and result his/her spouse feeling neglected and unloved. As a clinician we observed that when the ADHD spouse is female, resulting problems are less tolerated by husband. We hypothesize that when the couple embraces traditional gender roles, ADHD causes more problems in relationship and this relationship between gender roles and ADHD related problems is more prominent when the ADHD spouse is female. We have tested this hypothesis present our preliminary results hereby.

Methods: Consecutive 26 couples one of which one of the spouses has ADHD were enrolled into this study. Study population consisted of 9 females (34.6%) and 17 males (65.4%) with ADHD. Quantitative data is collected by Gender Roles Attitude Scale (GRAS), The Marital Impact Checklist and Adult ADD/ ADHD DSM IV- Based Diagnostic Screening and Rating Scale.

Results: “Lose temper over unimportant things”; “Can’t get things done unless there is an absolute deadline”; “Tolerates too much and then blows up inconsistently”; “Has trouble dealing with frustration”; “Has trouble getting started on a task” are DEHB features reported as having most negative impact on marriage as reported by both ADHD patient and the non-ADHD spouse. Severity of ADHD and patient reported “negative impact on marriage” was found to be statistically correlated as expected. Severity of both attention deficit and hyperactivity/impulsivity were correlated with non-ADHD spouse’s “feeling unloved, unimportant, or ignored” and “negative impact” as reported by the ADHD spouse. Unexpectedly severity of ADHD and non-ADHD spouses ratings of “feeling unloved, unimportant, or ignored” and “negative impact” were not found to be statistically correlated. Patient’s total GRAS scores, “Egalitarian gender roles”, “Female gender roles”, “Male gender roles” subscale scores of GRAS were statistically related with patients report of “negative impact”. Patient’s score of “Female gender roles” subscale is related with patient reported non-ADHD spouse’s “feeling unloved, unimportant, or ignored”. Difference of “gender role attitudes” between ADHD and non-ADHD spouses was separately analyzed. Differences of spouses’ attitudes in “Egalitarian gender roles” subscale of GRAS was found to be correlated with non-ADHD spouse’s report of “negative impact of ADHD on marriage”. The more the female partner was egalitarian - as indicated by “Egalitarian gender roles” subscale – the more “negative impact” the non-ADHD spouse perceives.

Conclusion: These results partially supports our hypotheses that “gender role attitudes” mediates the negative impact of ADHD on romantic relationships and this mediation may emerge at least in some relationships when the female partner is more egalitarian.

EISSN 2475-0581