Unveiling the ASRS-5: A Game-Changer in Adult ADHD Diagnosis

Isabela Romero Navarro | Oct 20, 2023 | 3 min read

Isabela Romero Navarro, MSU Counselor Education Program Intern at the Human Development Clinic


Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is not just a childhood condition. It often persists into adulthood, affecting quality of life and leading to other mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Yet, it often goes undiagnosed. Enter the Adult ADHD Self-Reporting Scale for DSM-5 (ASRS-5), a tool that promises to change the game in ADHD diagnosis.

What is ASRS-5?

Developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the ASRS-5 is a 5-point Likert-type scale consisting of 6 questions. It's designed to evaluate symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity in adults, based on their experiences in the past six months. The scale is quick to administer and score, making it a practical tool for clinicians.

Why ASRS-5 Stands Out

The ASRS-5 has shown excellent psychometric qualities, including a sensitivity rate above 90%. This means it's highly effective in identifying true ADHD cases while minimizing false positives. Studies have validated its effectiveness across different populations, including German and Turkish adults.

Strengths and Limitations


  • Quick and easy to administer
  • High sensitivity and specificity
  • Valid across different populations


  • Limited sample size in initial studies
  • Needs further validation for broader application

Practical Applications

The ASRS-5 is particularly useful for beginner counselors. It's a short, easily scored test that can accurately screen for ADHD in adults. Given that ADHD often coexists with other mental disorders, having a reliable screening tool is crucial for effective treatment.


The ASRS-5 is becoming an essential tool in clinical practice for diagnosing adult ADHD. Its ease of use and high accuracy make it a go-to resource for healthcare providers. As ADHD can be effectively managed if detected early, the ASRS-5 serves as a cornerstone in providing the best possible treatment for adults.


Ballmann, C., Kölle, M. A., Bekavac-Günther, I., Wolf, F., Pargent, F., Barzel, A., Philipsen, A., & Gensichen, J. (2022). Evaluation of the German Version of the Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Self-Report Screening Scale for DSM-5 as a Screening Tool for Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Primary Care. Frontiers in Psychology, 13, 858147–858147.

Genc, H., Yorguner, N., Bulut, S., Bulut, G. C., Aydemir, O., & Yazgan, Y. (2021). Validity and reliability of the Turkish version of the adult ADHD Self-Report Screening Scale for DSM-5. Balkan Medical Journal, 38(2), 111–115.

Ustun, B., Adler, L. A., Rudin, C., Faraone, S. V., Spencer, T. J., Berglund, P., Gruber, M. J., & Kessler, R. C. (2017). The World Health Organization Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Self-Report Screening Scale for DSM-5. JAMA Psychiatry, 74(5), 520–526.

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