Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common mental health issue. At least in the UK, most people will have heard of ADHD.

Is ADHD bad? Or could it actually reflect something positive (adaptive?). In 2024, this newspaper article discussed this view, which goes back several decades Link to The Guardian

The ASRS was developed by resarchers, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Workgroup on Adult ADHD (Kessler et al., 2005).

The ASRS items is for adults and based on DSM-IV criteria.

Scores and interpretation

The first six questions are in the survey called Part A and the rest Part B. The first six items are sufficient as a checklist and you can just take out the rest.

A score of 4 or higher on part A means that you have symptoms consistent with ADHD.

ADHD as a positive trait

It is worth pointing out that there is a debate about whether ADHD is a disorder or instead relfects a trait or traits that are beneficial to people under specific circumstances. This work goes back decades, for example the article by Shelley-Tremblay and Rosén (1995).

More recently, Barack and colleagues (2024) used the ASRS and found that people who reached the threshold for ADHD score were better at a "foraging" task. Foraging is collecting food. This is important for us (think food shopping) and was critical for our stone age ancestors who spent most of their day simply surviving, battling the environment and searching for food to survive.

Run the demo

It seems that the ASRS can be used for research, but you need to acknowledge the authors and their research paper when writing about it (Kessler et al., 2005).


This is a Likert scale type questionnaire, but the scoring is not ordinal. Instead, some items count and some do not, and that varies from question to question. That is why the lines with the / in it are used.

The first six questions are predictive of ADHD, so you do not really need the rest if you use this in your own research project.

In the code lines, the items are numbered. That is only to make coding easier, the participant does not see those.

The survey code for PsyToolkit

Copy and paste this code to your PsyToolkit account if you want to use the scale in your own online research project
scale: asrs_scale
- Never
- Rarely
- Sometimes
- Often
- Very often

l: asrs
t: scale asrs_scale
o: buildup
q: Please answer the questions below, rating yourself on each of the
criteria shown using the scale on the right side of the page. Select
the box that best describes how you have felt and conducted yourself
*over the past 6 months*.
- {01,score=0/0/1/1/1} How often do you have trouble wrapping up the final details of a project, once the challenging parts have been done?
- {02,score=0/0/1/1/1} How often do you have difficulty getting things in order when you have to do a task that requires organization?
- {03,score=0/0/1/1/1} How often do you have problems remembering appointments or obligations?
- {04,score=0/0/0/1/1} When you have a task that requires a lot of thought, how often do you avoid or delay getting started?
- {05,score=0/0/0/1/1} How often do you fidget or squirm with your hands or feet when you have to sit down for a long time?
- {06,score=0/0/0/1/1} How often do you feel overly active and compelled to do things, like you were driven by a motor?
- {07,score=0/0/0/1/1} How often do you make careless mistakes when you have to work on a boring or difficult project?
- {08,score=0/0/0/1/1} How often do you have difficulty keeping your attention when you are doing boring or repetitive work?
- {09,score=0/0/1/1/1} How often do you have difficulty concentrating on what people say to you, even when they are speaking to you directly?
- {10,score=0/0/0/1/1} How often do you misplace or have difficulty finding things at home or at work?
- {11,score=0/0/0/1/1} How often are you distracted by activity or noise around you?
- {12,score=0/0/1/1/1} How often do you leave your seat in meetings or other situations in which you are expected to remain seated?
- {13,score=0/0/0/1/1} How often do you feel restless or fidgety?
- {14,score=0/0/0/1/1} How often do you have difficulty unwinding and relaxing when you have time to yourself?
- {15,score=0/0/0/1/1} How often do you find yourself talking too much when you are in social situations?
- {16,score=0/0/1/1/1} When you’re in a conversation, how often do you find yourself finishing the sentences of the people you are talking to before they can finish them themselves?
- {17,score=0/0/0/1/1} How often do you have difficulty waiting your turn in situations when turn taking is required?
- {18,score=0/0/1/1/1} How often do you interrupt others when they are busy?

l: AsrsScorePartA
t: set
- sum $asrs.1 $asrs.2 $asrs.3 $asrs.4 $asrs.5 $asrs.6

l: AsrsScorePartB
t: set
- sum $asrs.7 $asrs.8 $asrs.9 $asrs.10 $asrs.11 $asrs.12 $asrs.13 $asrs.14 $asrs.15 $asrs.16 $asrs.17 $asrs.18

l: feedback
t: info
q: Your score on Part A (first 6 questions) was {$AsrsScorePartA}
Your score on Part B (questions 7-18) was {$AsrsScorePartB}
If you have a score of four or more on Part A, you have symptoms
highly consistent with ADHD in adults and further investigation is
For part B, there is no specific scoring. You can have a score between
0 and 12 points. More points means that your symptoms are more
consistent with ADHD symtoms.


  • Kessler RC, Adler L, Ames M, Demler O, Faraone S, Hiripi E, Howes MJ, Jin R, Secnik K, Spencer T, Ustun TB, Walters EE (2005). The World Health Organization Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS): a short screening scale for use in the general population. _Psychol Medince, ,35(2), 245-56. Link to paper

  • Barack, D.L. and colleagues (2024). Attention deficits linked with proclivity to explore while foraging. _Proceedings of the Royal Society B — Biological Sciences. Link to article

  • John F. Shelley-Tremblay & Lee A. Rosén (1996) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: An Evolutionary Perspective, The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 157:4, 443-453, DOI: 10.1080/00221325.1996.9914877