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Adult ADHD and emerging models of maladaptive personality: a meta-analytic review



ADHD is a highly consequential disorder that is estimated to affect 2.5% of the adult population. Emerging models of psychopathology posit that disorders like ADHD can be usefully situated within general models of individual differences in personality, such as those recently implemented in the DSM and ICD for the diagnosis of personality disorder. Previous research and systematic reviews have linked adult ADHD to the personality traits Conscientious Inhibition and Negative Emotionality. However, there have been some inconsistencies in the literature and research embedding ADHD-personality connections in the DSM-5 and ICD-11 personality disorder models has been limited. The goal of this paper was to systematically review associations between adult ADHD and personality traits, organized within a maladaptive five factor framework.


A comprehensive literature search yielded 13 papers whose effects were meta-analyzed.


Results supported associations between ADHD and low Conscientious Inhibition and high Negative Emotionality. However, interesting patterns of variability were observed, potentially related to issues such as instrumentation and facet variation.


Results support the clinical application of personality assessment for suggesting risk for ADHD symptoms, and point to important directions for further research.

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