Purpose: Grounded in the socio-ecological model of health, this study aims to understand the broader impact of adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) on the family system. With a notable gap in knowledge concerning the impact of adult ADHD on spouses’ well-being, this research explores the lived experiences of women in relationships with partners diagnosed with ADHD. Material and methods: Using a descriptive qualitative phenomenological approach, we conducted semi-structured interviews with thirteen women without ADHD, to gain insights into their experiences. Results: Three main themes were identified- ADHD in Everyday Life, Burden Experience, and Women’s Coping Strategies for managing ADHD within relationships. The findings suggest that partners’ ADHD symptoms involve a burden on women. In response, women developed coping strategies such as learning about ADHD, setting limits, and cultivating partnership by creating bridges to compensate for ADHD-related barriers. Conclusions: This study highlights the substantial burden experienced by women in a relationship with partners diagnosed with ADHD, suggesting they should be recognized as caregivers and a potentially vulnerable group at risk. However, the homogeneous nature of our sample, focusing on white, heterosexual women, underlines the need for further research to better understand the impact of adult ADHD on diverse partners’ functioning and health, as well as pathways to support them.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
- Adult ADHD
- caregiver burden
- qualitative study
- social ecological model