Faculty Publications

Transitioning To College With Adhd: A Qualitative Examination Of Parental Support And The Renegotiation Of The Parent-Child Relationship

Document Type



ADHD, College, Emerging adulthood, Parent-child relationship, Parental support

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Current Psychology


Objective: In the transition to college, students with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) often face difficulties. Parental support may aid in the successful adjustment to college, and a strong parent-child relationship (PCR) may optimize the balance between autonomy and support necessary during this transition. Method: Few studies have examined this; therefore, a qualitative study using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was conducted. First- and second-year college students with ADHD participated in open-ended, one-on-one interviews (N = 11; 64% women, 91% White). Results: The two broad categories of findings included Parental Support and the Renegotiation of the Parent-Child Relationship. Participants described feeling supported by their parents in the progress toward their short- and long-term goals. Students described this support as helpful when they managed or initiated the contact, but as unhelpful when the parent was perceived as over involved. They described a strong PCR in this transition as helpful to their adjustment and enjoyed the renegotiation of the PCR in terms of their own increased autonomy and responsibility. Many additional themes and sub-themes are described herein. Conclusion: Optimal levels of involvement and support from parents in the context of a strong PCR is beneficial for adjustment to college for those with ADHD. We discuss the clinical implications of our findings, such as therapists helping families transition to college, and working with college students with ADHD on an adaptive renegotiation of the PCR in their transition to adulthood.


Department of Psychology

Original Publication Date


DOI of published version