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The role of self‐compassion in the mental health of adults with ADHD

Beaton, Danielle M.; Sirois, Fuschia; Milne, Elizabeth


Danielle M. Beaton

Elizabeth Milne


Evidence suggests that the poorer mental health associated with attention deficit hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is partially explained by adverse psychosocial correlates of the condition. As recent studies show that self-compassion is negatively associated with ADHD, this study investigates if levels of self-compassion may explain the mental health outcomes in people with ADHD compared to people without ADHD.

A total of 543 adults with ADHD (62.72% female, 18–67 years), and 313 adults without ADHD (66.45% female, 18–82 years) completed questionnaires online to measure levels of self-compassion and mental health. A Structural Equation Model assessed the mediating effect of self-compassion on the relationships between ADHD and well-being (psychological, emotional, and social), and ADHD and ill-being (depression, anxiety, and stress).

Findings suggest that low self-compassion contributes to poorer mental health in adults with ADHD compared to adults without ADHD.

Thus, self-compassion may be a potential target to improve mental health in this population.

Public Health Significance
This study shows that self-compassion is an important factor in the mental health of adults with ADHD and provides preliminary evidence for the use of self-compassion interventions to improve mental health outcomes in adults with ADHD.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 10, 2022
Online Publication Date Mar 25, 2022
Publication Date Nov 15, 2022
Deposit Date Jul 4, 2022
Journal Journal of Clinical Psychology
Print ISSN 0021-9762
Electronic ISSN 1097-4679
Publisher Wiley Periodicals
Volume 78
Issue 12
Pages 2497-2512
Public URL
Additional Information This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (