Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name





ADHD, Facebook, loneliness, social distress, social media


Kimberley A. Babb




Emerging research has explored how ADHD is related to Facebook and social media use. This study explored whether a hybrid hypothesis of the social compensation and cross-situational continuity hypotheses would explain potential inconsistencies in the Facebook usage of people with higher levels of ADHD symptoms. Specifically, the hybrid hypothesis proposed that people with social deficits have social motivations for using Facebook; however, they may not benefit from online interactions due to enacting the same problematic social behaviors that they do in offline settings. This study compared 87 young adults with different levels of ADHD symptoms on their Facebook usage patterns, the content of their Facebook posts, as well as other users’ responsiveness to their posting, and examined whether these factors interacted to predict social distress and loneliness. Higher levels of ADHD symptoms were associated with habitual pass time motivations for using Facebook, as well as more frequent active and less frequent passive Facebook use. With regard to Facebook posting, higher ADHD symptoms were associated with more frequent posting, higher negativity, lower positivity, and lower social engagement. In addition, by engaging less frequently in social and positive behaviours online, individuals with higher levels of ADHD symptoms received lower levels of responsiveness. It seems that the cross-situational continuity hypothesis most accurately characterized the relations between ADHD symptoms and Facebook use, as the motivations, activity, and posting behaviours associated with ADHD symptoms were very consistent with offline symptoms and social behaviours typical of ADHD. However, despite the parallels between online posting and offline social deficits associated with ADHD, these behaviours did not directly lead to heightened impairments in social distress and loneliness.