School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy


Patricia Ferrin


ADHD, working memory, executive function, self-efficacy, self-worth




Due to their transient nature of having short attention spans, causing disruptions in the classroom, and academic shortcomings, students diagnosed with ADHD need non-pharmacological methods to help them achieve academic success. The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological study was to describe the lived experiences of college undergraduate students at Arbiter University who have low senses of academic self-efficacy due to having been diagnosed with ADHD. A sample of 10 undergraduate students between the age range of 18 and 22 years old noted they all experienced academic difficulties due to their ADHD diagnosis, had low senses of self-efficacy, and participated in extracurricular activities. The theory that guided this study was Bandura’s theory on self-efficacy as it pertains to students’ belief in their ability to organize, execute, and accomplish tasks. A hermeneutic phenomenological study has been selected over a transcendental phenomenological study as the data collection methods for this study best fit a hermeneutic approach. To formulate triangulation, data were collected utilizing individual interviews, focus groups, and journal responses; and the data have been synthesized using the qualitative data analysis software (QDAS), Delve. Data analysis was conducted using the hermeneutic phenomenological approach described by van Manen. Themes of inferior educational experiences, coping strategies, and improved self-efficacy emerged among the participants. Participants also discussed their feelings of inadequacy when it came to achieving academic success. In separation, participants noted positive feelings when working out and having improved working memory when participating in extracurricular activities that attributed to achieving academic success.

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