Low standards yet disappointed: ADHD symptoms and experiential avoidance in college students

Elizabeth A. Bodalski, Tamara M. Abu-Ramadan, Caroline E. Hough, Elizabeth K. Lefler, Michael C. Meinzer, Kevin M. Antshel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The literature suggests that ADHD symptoms are associated with experiential avoidance (EA), but little is known about factors that explain this relation. The present study examined indirect effects of ADHD symptoms on EA via perfectionism in a sample of 3720 undergraduates who completed an online survey. Results showed that perfectionism partially explained the relation between ADHD symptoms and EA, yet the direction of findings differed when examining different elements of perfectionism. Specifically, ADHD symptoms predicted higher Discrepancy scores, but lower Standards and Order scores. This suggests that undergraduates with elevated ADHD symptoms do not strive towards orderliness or hold themselves to overly high standards, yet judge themselves harshly for falling short of their expectations. Targeting this harsh judgment through the use of cognitive-behavioral, or acceptance and commitment therapy may be beneficial for undergraduates with elevated symptoms of ADHD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-184
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Contextual Behavioral Science
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • ADHD
  • College
  • Experiential avoidance
  • Maladaptive perfectionism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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