A Phenomenological Study of the Self-Perceptions of High School Students with ADHD
ABSTRACT ANNE M. MEIROW A PHENOMENOLOGICAL STUDY OF THE SELF-PERCEPTIONS OF HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WITH ADHD Under the direction of SYBIL A. KEESBURY, Ed.D. This qualitative study examined the lived experiences of five high school students with ADHD, particularly the ways in which the disorder affected them academically. Through the lens of Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985), this study also explored these students’ development of autonomy, relatedness, and competency, which are three essential needs required for intrinsic motivation. No published research was discovered on high school students with ADHD within the framework of Self-Determination Theory (SDT). I was interested in describing the effect ADHD had on students’ development of autonomy, competence, and relatedness, along with students’ academic self-perception. A qualitative phenomenological methodology was used to gain a deeper understanding of the lived experiences of the research participants. Data were collected via interviews with the students, as well as student and researcher reflective journals. Five participants took part in the study, and although random sampling was used, all five students were relatively academically homogeneous. Data were coded and analyzed by five themes: autonomy, relatedness, competency, academic self-perception, and acceptance of diagnosis. Students in the study felt in control of their lives (autonomous), although the female students preferred for others to make decisions for them. With regard to relatedness, all participants had good relationships with their families, but the female participants reported having a difficult time making and keeping friends, when compared to the male participants. The females attributed their difficulties with peer relationships to ADHD. All participants had diagnoses of ADHD for significant periods of time, and no participant expressed difficulty accepting their ADHD diagnosis. The difference in responses between male and female participants was intriguing and would be a possible future research subject. Since the research participants in this study were rather academically homogeneous, it would also be interesting to examine the responses of a more academically diverse group, as well as with students from different socioeconomic situations, regions, and cultures.
Meirow, Anne M.