September 7, 2020

The ASRS-5

Last updated on July 30, 2021

The Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale for DSM-5 (ASRS-5) is a self-report screening scale for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults. It’s the updated version of the ASRS v1.1.

 

Dr. Natalie’s rating: 5 stars for appropriate and respectful wording, 5 stars for clarity & lack of ambiguity, and 4 stars for testing accuracy.

 

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:[1]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:

  • Never
  • Rarely
  • Sometimes
  • Often
  • Very Often

If you decide to take the test, please consider the Discussion section below.


Scoring

  • 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

Validity

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:[2]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%

Discussion

Natalie:

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.

Kendall:

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.

Martin:

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.


ASRS-5

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.

ASRS-5 document

The Adult ADHD Self-Report Screening Scale 
for DSM-5.


Recommended next steps

After the ASRS-5, consider taking one of the tests below.

CAT-Q

Measures camouflaging, and can account
for lower scores on other autism tests

RAADS-R

Identifies adults who often “escape diagnosis”
due to a subclinical level presentation

Aspie Quiz

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.


An illustration of a clipboard with a checklist or assessment.

If you are looking for an autism assessment,
Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht can offer help!
You can find more information here:

Online autism assessments
This article
was written by:
dr-natalie-engelbrecht
I’m a dually licensed registered psychotherapist and naturopathic doctor, and a Canadian leader in trauma, PTSD, and integrative medicine strictly informed by scientific research.And not only do I happen to be autistic, but my autism plays a significant role in who I am as a doctor and how I interact with and care for my patients and clients.

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