Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Suzanne M. Hedstrom

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Betz

Third Advisor

Dr. C. Dennis Simpson


The paucity o f research on females diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) precipitated this exploratory investigation into co-occurring disorders and selective substance use in females (n = 70), ranging in age between 10 and 25, diagnosed with ADHD and substance use disorder (SUD). Data extracted from archived substance abuse treatment center records were tested via chi-square analyses to determine proportional differences between frequencies in predetermined co-occurring disorder groups (disruptive behavior disorders, moodanxiety disorders, and learning disorders) and predetermined substance groups (stimulant, depressant, and cannabis) for the total ADHD cohort and for specific diagnoses (inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive, combined, and with presenting symptoms but failing to meet full criteria). Statistical significance was set at the .05 level, with all p values > .05 considered not significant. The first analysis examined the frequency differences among the co-occurring disorder groups for the total ADHD cohort. Mood-anxiety disorders were found to be significantly more prevalent. Sample distribution precluded the second analysis comparing proportions of co-occurring disorders by specific diagnoses. A post hoc exact test found no significant association for specific diagnoses and co-occurring disorder groups. The third and fourth analyses examined the differences in substance groups for the total ADHD cohort and by specific ADHD diagnoses. Statistically significant differences were not found in substance selection by the total cohort or by specific ADHD diagnosis. The final analyses examined substance selection by specific ADHD diagnosis for each co-occurring disorder. Due to the low number of participants diagnosed with co-occurring disruptive behavioral disorders and learning disorders, substance frequency comparisons by ADHD for these diagnosis stand untested. Consequently, the final analysis examined substance use for co-occurring mood-anxiety among the specific ADHD diagnoses. No statistically significant differences were found in substance selection for specific ADHD diagnoses for co-occurring mood-anxiety disorders.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access