ADHD and political participation: An observational study

Israel Waismel-Manor*, Yael R. Kaplan, Shaul R. Shenhav, Yair Zlotnik, Shira Dvir Gvirsman, Gal Ifergane

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background and objective Over the past decade, researchers have been seeking to understand the consequences of adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) for different types of everyday behaviors. In this study, we investigated the associations between ADHD and political participation and attitudes, as ADHD may impede their active participation in the polity. Methods This observational study used data from an online panel studying the adult Jewish population in Israel, collected prior the national elections of April 2019 (N = 1369). ADHD symptoms were assessed using the 6-item Adult ADHD Self-Report (ASRS-6). Political participation (traditional and digital), news consumption habits, and attitudinal measures were assessed using structured questionnaires. Multivariate linear regression analyses were conducted to analyze the association between ADHD symptoms (ASRS score <17) and reported political participation and attitudes. Results 200 respondents (14.6%) screened positive for ADHD based on the ASRS-6. Our findings show that individuals with ADHD are more likely to participate in politics than individuals without ADHD symptoms (B = 0.303, SE = 0.10, p = .003). However, participants with ADHD are more likely to be passive consumers of news, waiting for current political news to reach them instead of actively searching for it (B = 0.172, SE = 0.60, p = .004). They are also more prone to support the idea of silencing other opinions (B = 0.226, SE = 0.10, p = .029). The findings hold when controlling for age, sex, level of education, income, political orientation, religiosity, and stimulant therapy for ADHD symptoms. Conclusions Overall, we find evidence that individuals with ADHD display a unique pattern of political activity, including greater participation and less tolerance of others’ views, but not necessarily showing greater active interest in politics. Our findings add to a growing body of literature that examines the impact of ADHD on different types of everyday behaviors.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere0280445
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume18
Issue number2 February
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Waismel-Manor et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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