Elizabeth “Libby” McBride Humanities and Social Science
Unplanned Pregnancies in Women with Histories of ADHD: The Role of Executive Functioning
Recent investigations reveal that women with childhood histories of Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) continue to experience major impairments even after symptoms have abated. One such important outcome is increased rates of unplanned pregnancy by adulthood. Existing literature has identified academic underachievement and risky sexual behavior during early-to-mid-adolescence as mediators of the childhood ADHD-unplanned pregnancy link. However, executive functioning (EF) may be an underlying mechanism that better explains this relation and is potentially more amenable to possible health education interventions. Thus, this study aims to elucidate the relation between childhood ADHD and unplanned pregnancy by investigating the potential mediating role of adolescent executive functioning (EF). A better understanding of this outcome is crucial because unplanned pregnancies can significantly alter the course of a woman’s life, health, and finances, as well as the life of her child.