Graduate Research Papers


Graduate Research Paper (UNI Access Only)


Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in literature;


With 11% of American children being diagnosed with ADHD, teacher librarians need to be able to recommend quality literature featuring characters with ADHD.The purpose of this literary qualitative content analysis of middle grade and young adult literature is to analyze the portrayal of characters who have ADHD in books that librarians can use for patron recommendations for students with ADHD and their peers. This study sought to address the following research question: Does middle grade and young adult literature that includes characters with ADHD accurately portray experiences with ADHD including symptoms and challenges, treatment by peers and adults, and stigma faced? This study utilized literary qualitative content analysis to examine 10 novels that included characters with ADHD published between 2014 and 2019.

In the findings, the researcher identified nine categories for evaluating a book for accurate depiction of ADHD: examples of symptoms of ADHD and common character traits exemplified in the literature, treatments, descriptions of and reactions to characters with ADHD, examples of characters being stereotyped or facing stigma due to ADHD,examples of symptoms of ADHD being shown as an asset, examples of other positive traits exemplified in characters with ADHD, examples of inclusion of characters with ADHD, and examples of characters with ADHD overcoming challenges related to the disorder, and authors’ notes related to ADHD. All 10 novels were found to show ADHD in a realistic way, and 9 of the 10 are recommended for students with ADHD and their peers. The basis for this recommendation of nine of the novels is their exceptional capacity and sensitivity in three areas: 1) overall accurate portrayal of ADHD in middle grade and young adult fiction, 2) inclusion of characters with ADHD and characters getting help with ADHD and 3) characters experiencing symptoms of ADHD shown as an asset and overcoming challenges related to the disorder.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Division of School Library Studies

First Advisor

Karla Krueger, First reader

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (91 pages)



File Format


Off-Campus Download