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‘It’s like it is designed to keep me stressed’ — Working sustainably with ADHD or autism
Linköping University, Department of Health, Medicine and Caring Sciences, Division of Prevention, Rehabilitation and Community Medicine. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Community Care Department, The Municipality of Norrköping, Norrköping, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5297-7292
Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Division of Neurobiology. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1904-5554
Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Psykiatricentrum, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Linköping. Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Barnafrid.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1837-5930
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Disability Research Division. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
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2023 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, ISSN 1103-8128, E-ISSN 1651-2014, no 8, p. 1280-1291Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background

Adults with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) face multiple challenges in obtaining and maintaining employment.

Aims

To identify and describe how adults with ADHD or ASD experienced their ability to work and what factors affected their ability to find a sustainable work situation over time.

Methods

Individual in-depth interviews were performed with 20 purposively sampled participants with ADHD/ASD. Data were analysed inductively using reflexive thematic analysis.ResultsThree themes were identified, describing (1) one’s own cognitive abilities and challenges, (2) enablement by flexibility and acceptance in the work environment, and (3) accumulated stress that makes the work situation unsustainable over time.

Conclusions

Over time, a lack of continuity and predictability of support measures caused great stress and exhaustion, with severe consequences for working life and in life in general. Adaptations needed to be individually tailored and include nonoccupational factors.

Significance

The study shows that adults with ADHD/ASD need long-term interventions that flexibly adapt to individual needs, as they vary over time. The findings suggest that occupational therapists and other health care providers, employers, employment services and other involved agencies should pay a greater deal of attention to stability and predictability over time.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Ltd , 2023. no 8, p. 1280-1291
Keywords [en]
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder, employment, qualitative research, thematic analysis, vocational rehabilitation
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-190010DOI: 10.1080/11038128.2022.2143420ISI: 000884286200001PubMedID: 36379218OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-190010DiVA, id: diva2:1711260
Funder
Medical Research Council of Southeast Sweden (FORSS), FORSS-910651Medical Research Council of Southeast Sweden (FORSS), FORSS-931117Swedish Research Council, 2018-02131
Note

Funding: Medical Research Council of Southeast Sweden [FORSS-910651, FORSS-931117]; Swedish Research Council [2018-02131]

Available from: 2022-11-16 Created: 2022-11-16 Last updated: 2024-03-15

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Högstedt, ErikaIgelström, KajsaKorhonen, LauraKäcker, PiaMarteinsdottir, InaBjörk, Mathilda

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Högstedt, ErikaIgelström, KajsaKorhonen, LauraKäcker, PiaMarteinsdottir, InaBjörk, Mathilda
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Division of Prevention, Rehabilitation and Community MedicineFaculty of Medicine and Health SciencesDivision of NeurobiologyCenter for Social and Affective NeuroscienceDepartment of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in LinköpingBarnafridDisability Research DivisionFaculty of Arts and SciencesPain and Rehabilitation Center
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