Original Research

A pilot study: Use of the Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Self-Report Scale in a South African patient population

Judith Regnart, Ilse Truter, Zukiswa Zingela, Anneke Meyer
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 25 | a1326 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v25i0.1326 | © 2019 Judith Regnart, Ilse Truter, Zukiswa Zingela, Anneke Meyer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 September 2018 | Published: 22 May 2019

About the author(s)

Judith Regnart, Department of Pharmacy, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Ilse Truter, Department of Pharmacy, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Zukiswa Zingela, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa
Anneke Meyer, Department of Psychology, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa


Background: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder which typically presents in childhood. This diagnosis may often be overlooked in adulthood, particularly in psychiatric populations. The Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS) is an internationally used and reliable screener; however, studies investigating its use in African populations are limited.

Aim: To investigate the application of the ASRS in a South African setting.

Setting: A patient population in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, was identified as representing a developing or low- and middle-income country population.

Methods: A convenience sample of acutely presenting psychiatric participants admitted for stabilisation was used. Fieldworkers administered the ASRS; collected information relating to demographics, differential diagnoses, substance use disorder (SUD) presence and substance consumption; and prescribed medication relating to current or historical treatment of ADHD.

Results: The study sample included 30 participants, with black people representing the majority of participants. Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale completion revealed the rate of ADHD within the study population to be 43.3%, a contrast to the initially presumed prevalence of 6.7% which was based on reported methylphenidate therapy. A difference in SUD prevalence was identified between subjects screening positively and negatively for ADHD with a greater tendency towards SUDs seen for ASRS-positive individuals. Significant differences were identified in relation to cannabis- and polysubstance use for ASRS-positive individuals.

Conclusion: Despite limitations related to the sample used and challenges in ASRS administration, investigation findings support recommendations for ADHD screening inclusion in acute inpatient settings in South Africa and ASRS translation into indigenous African languages.


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; Substance use disorder; Adult ADHD self-report scale; Mental illness; Adult


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Crossref Citations

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