The children growing up in the 1980s and 1990s with the official diagnosis of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are completing college and entering the workforce, yet few qualitative research studies examine the workplace experiences of these young adults as they enter the workplace. In order to better understand and then enhance their early workplace experiences in a meaningful way, this study addresses the question: What are some of the challenging work experiences as described by young adults with ADHD in a structured work environment?
Young adults, ages 22- to 28-years-old, across the United Stateswere interviewed to examine the types of challenges they experience in the workplace. An exploratory research design was used to gather and analyze the challenging workplace experiences of the participants. Content was coded using qualitative software, NVivo,and data across all participants were analyzed, synthesized, and reported herein.
The participants presented a multitude of challenging work experiences synthesized into four major categories. In determining how these young adults have adapted to their workplace environments, an important finding is in the area of self-awareness which influences, mitigates or abatesone’s behavior towards these challenging work experiences. The importance of self-awareness to temper these challenging experiences may help to identify and improve the meaningful nature of one’s work. This unexpected finding related to self-awareness may prove to be an important concept for further research.
Lastly, these research findings suggest that many challenges experienced by these young adults with ADHD may be commonly experienced across other young adults without ADHD diagnoses. Therefore, these research findings are important to understand for an organizationthat employs young adults who may or may not be attention-challenged, as there is no requirement to disclose this information in an employment setting. These findings may provide meaningful information to organizational leaders to help improve the workplace environment for this generation of workers.