• Adult ADHD Screening

    Key Finding

    Family medicine physicians are interested in Adult ADHD, and are willing to use novel technology for screening, and assessment of quality of life in those screening positive. The practice based activities conducted indicate the screening process can be accomplished with little disturbance to practice workflow, and patients find the screening acceptable.


    Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been studied far less than ADHD in childhood, although more than 60% of children with ADHD maintain significant ADHD symptoms throughout adulthood. Research has shown that adult ADHD has unique diagnostic features compared to childhood ADHD. Further, research indicates that adult ADHD is a relatively common disorder, affecting about 5% of the adult population. Medication and non-medication treatments have proven effective in the management of the disorder, similar to their efficacy in children. Along with increasing public awareness, there is a growing need for clinicians to be prepared to properly recognize, diagnose, and manage adult ADHD.

    Specific Aims and Objectives

    1. Assess the interest in adult ADHD among a representative group of family medicine physicians
    2. Test the feasibility of screening for adult ADHD in primary care practice settings

    Study Description and Methods

    We invited primary care clinicians to complete a brief eight-item online survey to assess overall awareness, current training, level of comfort and relative importance placed on adult ADHD care, as well as enthusiasm to expand the care of adult ADHD patients.

    Seven practices were recruited to participate in the demonstration project to test the feasibility of screening for ADHD in adults. Participating practices screened 705 patients using a tablet-administered set of surveys that the patient completed while waiting for a routine appointment. Screening took place over a four- to six-week period.

    At the end of the screening period, the lead clinician and site coordinator were invited to share insights during phone interviews. The purpose of these interviews was to learn about specific issues they encountered and what types of services, training, or support would be required to continue to screen, diagnose, and treat and/or refer adults with ADHD.


    This project was conducted from September 2012 through March 2014.


    This project is complete. Please see below for key findings.

    Key Findings and Publications

    Below are key findings from the Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder tablet-enabled screening and quality of life survey pilot project conducted in seven primary care practices;

    • Family medicine physicians and staffs are very interested in Adult ADHD (AADHD) and are willing to use novel technology to support screening and assessing quality of life of patients who may have the condition.
    • Physician survey respondents asked for targeted information to help them determine a diagnosis and offer appropriate treatments for AADHD.
    • The practice-based activities conducted during the pilot study indicate that patients find the screening process acceptable (705 successfully screened) and that practice staff can accomplish the screening with little disturbance to routine practice workflow.
    • Using conservative criteria, the estimated prevalence of undiagnosed AADHD is approximately six percent in the general population of individuals cared for in family medicine clinics in our study. This compares to a prevalence of approximately four percent reported in a limited number of general population published reports.

    Access the full Issue Brief to read the detailed results, project summary, and anticipated next steps.

    Contact Information

    For additional information about this study, please contact:

    Kim Kimminau, PhD
    Principal Investigator
    AAFP National Research Network
    1-800-274-2237, x3184

    Natalia Loskutova, MD, PhD

    AAFP National Research Network
    1-800-274-2237, x3186

    Robin Liston, MPH 
    Research Project Manager
    AAFP National Research Network
    1-800-274-2237, x3175

    This project was funded by a grant from Shire.