School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Beth Ackerman

Primary Subject Area

Education, Educational Psychology; Education, General; Education, Guidance and Counseling; Education, Higher; Psychology, General; Psychology, Cognitive


ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, self-determination, university students


Cognitive Psychology | Education | Educational Psychology | Higher Education | Psychology | School Psychology | Student Counseling and Personnel Services


This hermeneutic phenomenological study inquired about the challenges and successes of eight university students diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder at a university in the southeastern United States. The data collection methods involved documentation, questionnaires, focus groups, and individual interviews. The analysis of data involved open coding and in vivo coding; conversational interview methods through member checks were employed at the end of each interview. Several themes emerged from the data regarding the factors in academic success and challenges, the environments and learning styles most conducive to learning, individual factors that contributed to academic success, and the reading and study strategies that were most beneficial to participants. Participants found social supports, such as family, friends, study groups, or organizations, and university resources to be key factors in their academic success. The university schedule was seen as support, as participants shared their ability to adapt their schedule to their needs. Participants mentioned their social struggles, and struggles with focus and attention and shared strategies for controlling the distractions. Participants preferred a hands-on learning environment; and although they were confident in their reading and study strategies, almost all of the participants expressed their frustration with math. Participants cited time management and organizational strategies, reading and study strategies, as well as their individual self-determination as factors that contributed to their academic success.