ADHD, high ability, or both: the paths to young adulthood career outcomes

Soeun Park, University of Iowa


The purpose of this study was to explore career outcomes in young adulthood for individuals with ADHD and/or high abilities. The sample included respondents who had valid ability and ADHD measures from waves 1 (1995), 3 (2002), and 4 (2009) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent and Adult Health in-home questionnaire. Using multiple group path analysis, we examined the pathways for three groups of individuals (i.e., ADHD, high ability, and both). Our findings indicated shared as well as unique pathways in these three groups, involving their parents’ education, parental educational expectation, family income, school attachment, depression and anxiety symptoms, educational aspiration, high school GPA, and post-secondary educational enrollment modeled on perceived social class, occupational status, and career goal attainment. The findings suggested group differences in some significant pathways. Knowledge about these trajectories will help educational and mental health professionals better understand the potential supports and barriers in career success for these individuals with exceptionalities.