Graduation Year

2015

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Sociology

Reader 1

Gilda Ochoa

Reader 2

Piya Chatterjee

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Rights Information

© 2015 Rona Chong

Abstract

Although the efforts of multiple scholars contribute to a growing sociological conception of ADHD, I seek to fill a gap in the literature on ADHD by scrutinizing the various meanings that society attaches to the diagnostic construct of ADHD and commencing a more critical engagement with the manner in which ADHD unfolds in the lives of diagnosees - one which is premised on the actual experiences of the individual subject. Thus, I explore the sociological meaning of ADHD diagnosis through two related questions. First, what discourses shape the meaning of ADHD as a categorical marker or subject identity? Second, what are the consequences of identifying as an ADHD subject? To identify discourse on ADHD, I conduct a content analysis on 40 articles of the popular press on ADHD. To explore the consequences of identifying as an ADHD subject, I conduct a series of five interviews with young women students who associate themselves to ADHD. This mixed methods study finds strong contention surrounding ADHD diagnosis and treatment in the public sphere and individual negotiations of meaning that work around or else avoid negative subject identities in the private sphere of ADHD diagnosis.

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