Gormley, M. J., DuPaul, G. J., Weyandt, L. L., & Anastopoulos, A. D. (2019). First-year GPA and academic service use among college students with and without ADHD . Journal of Attention Disorders , 23 (14), 1766–1779. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054715623046

Journal Article

Gormley, M. J., DuPaul, G. J., Weyandt, L. L., & Anastopoulos, A. D. (2019). First-year GPA and academic service use among college students with and without ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders, 23(14), 1766–1779. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054715623046


First published online (1/7/16)


Attention problem; Emotional/Behavioral disability; Multiple disabilities; No disability; Postsecondary; U.S. context





According to the Trajectories Related to ADHD in College (TRAC) project data, various supportive services were discussed; this summary emphasizes academic accommodations, centering on those provided during course-related examinations. The specific accommodations were not explicitly mentioned, but rather were referred to as "disability services."


Data about participants were sampled from a larger data set collected in the Trajectories Related to ADHD in College (TRAC) project. TRAC was focused on nine higher education institutions from three geographic areas in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island (U.S.). Of the 456 postsecondary students, one-half of them (n=228) had attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and the other half identified as having no disabilities. Demographic data such as age, gender, race/ethnicity, parents' education and occupations, along with grade point average, IQ, and ADHD severity were also collected. In addition to ADHD, other psychological disabilities such as depression, anxiety, other, and multiple were identified and data were analyzed. The study reported all responses available for each research question, ranging from 220 to 420 data points.

Dependent Variable

The Trajectories Related to ADHD in College (TRAC) project employed an interview protocol that yielded data related to this study's five research questions. Three of the current study's five research questions pertained to accommodations, and this summary emphasizes the data for these relevant questions. The ADHD Rating Scale-Self-Report Version (ADHD RS-SRV) and the ADHD Rating Scale-Parent Report Version (ADHD RS-PRV) both served to guide the selection of the TRAC project's data sample. Additional TRAC data collected included clinical inquiry about depression and anxiety, educational skills via the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test-Third Edition (WIAT-III), the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence-Second Edition (WASI-II), grade point average (GPA), and an interview protocol about secondary and postsecondary services and accommodations use. The current study was an extensive set of analyses of these data for patterns of use of disability services—the collective term comprising various academic accommodations including test accommodations, and correlated predictors of service use and outcomes of service use.


The rate of use of disability services varied according to the nature of students' disabilities. In comparison with the use rate by students without disabilities of about two percent, the use rate of students with only ADHD was about 25 percent, students with ADHD and a mood-related disability (e.g., depression) had a rate of 20 percent, students with ADHD and anxiety had a rate of about 13 percent, students with ADHD and other mental health conditions had a rate of 50 percent, and students with ADHD and two or more other mental health disabilities was about 26 percent. Two factors were identified as significantly related to use of services at the postsecondary level: being non-White and having received academic services at the secondary level. The effects of service use during the first year of postsecondary education could not be factored reliably—that is, there were no significant differences among many factors including cumulative GPA between students with and without disabilities who had or had not received accommodations. Limitations of the study were reported, and future research directions were suggested.