Faculty Publications

Social Support In College Students With Adhd Symptoms: Quantity Beats Quality In Moderating Impairment

Document Type



ADHD, college, impairment, sex/gender, social support

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of College Student Psychotherapy


ADHD symptoms in emerging adult college students are associated with multiple impairments. Social support may buffer the relation between ADHD and impairment. Social support can be defined in terms of quantity or quality; more research is needed to better understand this distinction. Thus, the current study examined the moderating effect of social support quantity vs. quality on the relation between ADHD symptoms and impairment in college students. Our sample included 2,517 undergraduate students (75% women) in the United States who participated in an online survey. In a series of moderated regression analyses, we found that social support quantity (i.e. having a larger social network) served as a buffer of impairment, while social support quality (i.e. the depth and availability of individuals in the social circle) did not. This suggests that college students with ADHD symptoms may need to spread their social support needs among a larger group of people to receive the support they need. Clinically, college counseling centers should be aware of this, and tailor their interventions accordingly. Limitations and future directions are discussed.


Department of Psychology

Original Publication Date


DOI of published version