Attention-deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD) symptoms have been associated with the decision to become self-employed. Although these symptoms are generally regarded as disadvantageous, there may also be a bright side. To our knowledge, however, there has been no systematic, epidemiological evidence to support this claim. This paper examines the association between ADHD symptoms and self-employment in a population-based sample from the STAGE cohort of the Swedish Twin Registry (N = 7208). For replication, we used a sample of Dutch students who participated in the Global University Entrepreneurial Spirit Students’ Survey (N = 13,112). In the Swedish sample, we found a positive association with self-employment for both general ADHD symptoms [odds ratio (OR) 1.13; 95 % confidence intervals (CI) 1.04–1.23] and hyperactivity symptoms [OR 1.19; 95 % CI 1.08–1.32], whereas no association was found for attention-deficit symptoms [OR 0.99; 95 % CI 0.89–1.10]. The positive association between hyperactivity and self-employment was replicated in the Dutch student sample [OR 1.09; 95 % CI 1.03–1.15]. Our results show that certain aspects of ADHD, in particular hyperactivity, can have a bright side, as they are positively associated with self-employment.

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ERIM Top-Core Articles
European Journal of Epidemiology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Verheul, I., Rietdijk, W., Block, J., Franken, I., Larsson, H., & Thurik, R. (2016). The association between attention-deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD) symptoms and self-employment. European Journal of Epidemiology, 31(8), 793–801. doi:10.1007/s10654-016-0159-1