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Evaluating a scale of excessive mind wandering among males and females with and without attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder from a population sample

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number3071
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


King's Authors


Recent studies highlight the role of excessive mind wandering in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and its association with impairment. We believe assessing mind wandering could be especially relevant to individuals, including many females, who present with less externalising manifestations of ADHD. Using a new measure based on ADHD patient reports, the Mind Excessively Wandering Scale (MEWS), we previously found adults with ADHD had elevated levels of mind wandering that contributed to impairment independently of core ADHD symptoms. Using data from an online general population survey, the current study assessed the factor-structure, reliability, validity and measurement invariance of the MEWS. We also investigated sex differences in mind wandering, as well as ADHD symptoms, impairment and wellbeing in those with and without ADHD. The MEWS had a unidimensional structure, was invariant across sex, age and ADHD status, and accounted for unique variance in impairment and wellbeing beyond core ADHD symptoms. Among those with ADHD, we found no evidence for sex differences in mind wandering and among those without ADHD males had higher scores. We also found similar levels of hyperactivity/impulsivity, emotional lability, and impairment in males and females with ADHD, but males reported greater inattention and lower wellbeing. Results suggest the MEWS is a reliable and valid instrument measuring the same construct across sex, age and ADHD status, which could aid diagnosis and monitoring of outcomes. The pattern of sex differences for the behavioural ADHD symptoms in adults also appears to be reflected in the internalised/subjective experience of excessive mind wandering.

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