Last updated on March 5, 2021 by Martin Silvertant
- Questions: 6
- Duration: 2–5 minutes
- Type: screening tool
- Authors: Ronald C. Kessler & Berk Ustun et al.
- Publishing year: 2017
- Seminal paper: The World Health Organization Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS): a short screening scale for use in the general population (Kessler et al., 2005)
- Paper for the current version: The World Health Organization Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Self-Report Screening Scale for DSM-5 (Ustun et al., 2017)
Take the test here:
Who the test is designed for
- Adults (18+) with an IQ in the normal range (IQ >=80).
Versions & translations
The ASRS v1.1 has been translated into many languages. The most recent version, the ASRS-5, is available in:Adult ADHD Self-Report Scales (ASRS) | National Comorbidity Survey
Taking the test
The ASRS-5 consists of 6 questions, giving you 5 choices for each question:
- Very Often
If you decide to take the test, please consider the Discussion section below.
- Scoring range: 0–24
- Threshold score: 14
- 14↑ you likely have ADHD
- 14↓ you likely don’t have ADHD
The questions are scored as follows:
- Never – 0
- Rarely – 1
- Sometimes – 2
- Often – 3
- Very often – 4
Although the ASRS-5 screener can effectively diagnose ADHD in adults, it cannot rule out other medical conditions that may impact the diagnosis of ADHD.
The sensitivity and specificity of the ASRS-5 is as follows:The World Health Organization Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Self-Report Screening Scale for DSM-5 (Ustun et al., 2017)
- Sensitivity (true positive rate) = 91.4%
- Specificity (true negative rate) = 96.0%
I love that this test is short. I find the options easily understood. The new ADHD screening scale is short, easily scored, and detects the vast majority of general population cases with high specificity.
As often happens, my mind goes to qualifiers on a few questions. Despite the simple wording, the qualifier conundrum makes them more challenging to answer. Being so brief a test, this didn’t pose the usual back and forth, second-guessing routine. The ASRS-5 is super-quick, simple to score, and for the most part, easily understood.
Last year I discovered I likely have ADHD, as ADHD medication has a positive effect on me. Actually, my assessor also suggested it to me when I got diagnosed with autism. I was hoping this test could verify whether indeed I have ADHD; but I scored 13, which is just below the threshold. I think that’s probably fair, as most of my behaviors are probably understood within the autism framework.
Still, I feel the ASRS-5 didn’t give me any clarity. Indeed the test is quick, easy, and I’m sure it’s accurate about what it measures. But considering it’s a short screening test, it will inevitably overlook many aspects of ADHD. For example, impulsivity and low frustration tolerance are not taken into account.
I also have some frustration around questions #4 and #6:
- Is question #4 asking about the tendency to interrupt others, or just the tendency to anticipate what people might say? And is finishing others’ sentences really characteristic of ADHD? None of the people with ADHD that I know have this tendency.
- Question #6 seems to measure support needs based on executive dysfunction, but completely generalizes specific executive function problems. Besides planning, shouldn’t the test include other aspects of executive functions, such as organization and prioritization, time management, and perseverance?
The ASRS-5 seems to be a good short screening tool. But for a comprehensive measure/assessment of ADHD, I would probably look elsewhere.
Below is the ASRS-5. If you prefer a Word document that you can fill in, click the link below. If you’re doing this test as part of Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht’s diagnostic process, do include your answers, as they’re more important for her consideration than the total score.
Recommended next steps
After the ASRS-5, consider taking one of the tests below.
Measures camouflaging, and can account
for lower scores on other autism tests
Identifies adults who often “escape diagnosis”
due to a subclinical level presentation
Identifies neurodivergence and
potential co-occurring conditions
Online autism tests can play an essential role in the process of self-discovery, and may inform your decision to pursue a formal diagnosis. For a formal assessment, please see a knowledgeable medical professional trained in assessing autism.
If you are looking for an autism assessment,
have a look at the following post:
Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS), Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale for DSM-5 (ASRS-5), Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Berk Ustun, Executive functions, Planning, Psychometric test, Ronald C. Kessler, Screening instrument