Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Roth, Gene L.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


Graduate students--Psychology; Learning and scholarship--Psychological aspects; Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder


This study relied upon in-depth phenomenological interviewing to explore the question: What meaning do graduate students of adult education programs, diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in adulthood, make of their reconstructed learning experiences, and how do these meanings impact their understanding of themselves as learners? Each of the four informants participated in a series of three 90-minute, structured interviews, with each series focusing on early experiences, present experiences, and personally assigned meanings of the phenomenon in question. An important feature of this study was that the researcher met all prerequisite criteria established for the informants. Although one informant lacked official diagnosis, his case presented a strong preponderance in favor of AD/HD. In the effort of revealing as many biases and preconceptions as possible, the researcher included an autobiographic profile detailing his own experiences with the phenomenon, and his assigned meanings. To minimize the imposition of his belief structure, the researcher sought to identify terms that had a propensity for unstable interpretation within the broader academic context of formal adult education as well as within the three primary strands of literature: learning in adulthood, selfregulated learning, and learning from within AD/HD. Profiles were constructed for each informant using his or her own words. The researcher added or edited certain words and/or phrases to clarify informant intent. Each profile was congruently segmented according to major points of transition within the life experience and in response to specific, emergent subtopics. Profile analysis revealed four primary thematic connections, organized under the following headings: Motivation (including external, internal, intrinsic, and symptom-triggered); Impact of Personal and Societal Interests; Impact of Environmental Structure; and Compensatory Strategies (classified as external and internal). Common sources of compensation included: print material, stimulant use, vocalizations, hyper-kinetics, hyper-focus, and the use of humor. This phenomenological study revealed six essential meanings from within the combined experiences of the separate informants. These meanings were used to construct a learning model of graduate students diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [256]-269).


ix, 272 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type