Podcast – Episode 0367 – ADHD And Myers-Briggs® Personality Types

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In this episode, Joel and Antonia discuss one of the most commonly asked questions, “Is personality type related to ADHD?” by highlighting research, statistics, and numbers showing correlations between psychological types and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

STUDY REFERENCED: The relation between ADHD and Jungian psychological type : Commonality in Jungian psychological type preferences among students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder / Charles Meisgeier, Mary Jo Poillion, and K. Haring

Study Breakdown Study Breakdown
ADHD ADD
ENFP (17.44 %) ENFP (23.53 %)
ESFP (13.95 %) ESFJ (17.65 %)
ESFJ (12.79 %) ESFP (14.71 %)
ISFP (9.30 %) INFP (11.76 %)
INFP (6.98 %) ISFP (11.76 %)
ENFJ (6.98 %) ENFJ (8.82 %)
ISTP (5.81 %) INFJ (5.88 %)
ISFJ (4.65 %) ISFJ (2.94 %)
ESTJ (4.65 %) INTP (2.94 %)
ESTP (4.65 %) ENTJ (0.0 %)
INFJ (3.49 %) INTJ (0.0 %)
ISTJ (3.49 %) ESTJ (0.0 %)
INTP (2.33 %) ISTJ (0.0 %)
ENTJ (1.16 %) ISTP (0.0 %)
INTJ (1.16 %) ESTP (0.0 %)
ENTP (1.16 %) ENTP (0.0 %)

 

Studies referred to in comments (added to over time):

The Relationship of Personality Style and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children

In this podcast you’ll find:

  • Is there a correlation between ADHD or ADD and personality types?
  • Are there enough studies for this topic?
  • What the MILO database system has to offer.
  • The study on the relationship between ADHD, ADD and personality type.
  • What does the DSM-5 say about ADHD and ADD?
  • Which types are most likely to have ADHD?
    • Why are Joel and Antonia surprised by which type is highest on the list?
    • The big spread Joel and Antonia’s types have from each other.
    • Why did all the Introverted Feeling (xxFP) types and 2 Extroverted Feeling (xxFEJ) types land high on the list?
    • Why are the NT (xNTx) types grouped together?
    • What cognitive functions and David Kiersey’s type temperaments have to do with the results.
  • Which types are most likely to have ADD?
    • The drastic split between Feelers and Thinkers.
    • Is there a divide with Sensors and Intuitives?
    • Why a large group of types report 0% ADD.
    • Which types correlate with the ADHD list?
  • Does Extraverted Exploration (Ne – Exploration) have a role in ADHD or ADD?
  • The surprise cognitive function that is most correlated with both ADHD and ADD.
  • What is the other cognitive function landing high on the list?
  • How the cognitive function positions in the car model matter here.
  • Why IxTPs are outliers in the study.
  • The effects of learning environments:
    • Do some people have ADHD or ADD or just a different learning style?
    • Real struggles people experience with their learning environments.
    • Article by Daniel Foster on educational environments and type needs.
    • What are the challenges in discovering type preferences in children?
    • How can we tell if behavior is from type needs not being met vs ADHD and ADD?
  • Why we need to use these findings to support children better.
  • The imperative changes we need to make for types high on the list:
    • Giving FPs (xxFPs) what they absolutely need.
    • Allowing SPs (xSxPs) to be as they are.
    • Letting Extraverted Feeling (Fe – Harmony) Dominants thrive in their way.

 

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Showing 22 comments
  • tazkerah (reminder)
    Reply

    Peace be upon you
    Just wanted to share something with you
    I suspect that the name Antonia originally come from the arabic word fittnah فطنة (don’t miss the double tt!) Which translate as acumen
    So if he is mr. Witt, and she is acumen, then little wonder for the great content

  • Anonymous
    Reply

    ADHD does not exist:

    http://whale.to/a/1002340_3320335862506_689514626_n.jpg

    The Myth of the A.D.D. Child, by Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D.:

    Excerpt (from page 10): “Confronted with children whom psychologists, psychiatrists and teachers claimed had ADHD, I have not been able to find any abnormality—no disease whatsoever! ” Fred A. Baughman, Jr., M.D.

  • Rivqa
    Reply

    I really enjoyed this episode, you touched on a lot of interesting points. Although you made it clear that you were only referring to a small number of studies, and you touched on the limitations of typing children, there’s another major confounding variable, which is delayed diagnosis (mostly with inattentive type, and also more common for girls and those socialised as girls). If the people in the study already had their diagnosis under age 12, they are a specific subset of children with ADHD: those with obvious enough (which usually means disruptive enough) symptoms for diagnosis.

    Another aspect that I think had a brief mention but not extensive discussion is the emotional impact of ADHD. A major symptom that’s really only just starting to receive attention is rejection sensitive dysphoria, where the slightest negative feedback (real or imagined) can send you into a tailspin. Additude magazine (which also has an extensive website and podcasts/webinars) has a tonne of useful information, including on RSD. Other aspects beyond inability to sit still and/or concentrate include different sensory needs, and for some people inability to get motivated even for something they enjoy.

    My personal experience: I’m an INFJ woman, diagnosed with inattentive ADHD in my late 30s. I spent most of school reading a book under my desk, but still excelling when I was interested in the subject. While I was going through my diagnosis, one of the things that helped me stay calm was ‘if a psychiatrist doesn’t think I have ADHD, at least being an INFJ explains the sensory overload and emotional sensitivity’. Fortunately my psychiatrist, who takes a very holistic view, agreed with my suspicions, and the thing that convinced him was when I told him ‘I’ve got everything under control, I’m achieving what I want to in my life, but it’s emotionally exhausting in a way that I don’t think is normal, and that is affecting my ability to connect with people the way I want to’.

    I think that ADHD is a very heterogeneous condition, even within the subtypes, and as such it interplays with different personality types in different (and sometimes surprising) ways. I also note that there is a genetic component to ADHD, moreso than personality (IIRC). So while it’s interesting and useful to look at the correlations, they’re never going to show the full picture — which you acknowledged in the podcast. Thank you again for covering the topic!

  • Sarah Martinez
    Reply

    I like when Antonia mentioned how SP types like to perform taking action while stuck in an education system that encourages rules and regulations. My Mother was told when I was 5 that I wasn’t going to be a ” rocket scientist” recommended adderall and to focus on my interest in dancing. Anyway I grew up to be the first female forklift operator in my hometown warehouse. I focus just fine operating heavy machinery. ESTP

  • Dori Loomis
    Reply

    I wonder if NT’s are under-reported as children because their NT helps them mask their symptoms. Just food for thought.

  • Olivia
    Reply

    Hello, I am an INFP and I was just diagnosed with ADHD (combined) in November there. For me, I disagree with the premise that personality traits are misinterpreted by society as ADHD, or that society is structured in a way that means certain personality traits get labelled as such.

    ADHD is something you can literally see in a brain scan. It involves having an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex (where the executive functions are carried out) and a higher level of dopamine reuptake than a neurotypical. It is not something you develop in response to society, it is something you are born with.

    I would actually argue that it is the ADHD that impacts on personality and not the other way around. Obviously, there will be exceptions to every rule, but for me anyway, as an INFP I find that my ADHD ‘traits’ are most often in contradiction to my INFP ones! Though that is completely personal.

    I also don’t mean any of these comments in an argumentative way, I just got absolutely hyper fixated on understanding how ADHD works in a biological sense right after my diagnosis, and for me understanding it in terms of neurotransmitters and neurobiology helped me to understand, accept and most importantly FORGIVE myself for years and years of “not living up to my potential”.

    I found these symptom categories more helpful than thinking of it as like I can’t pay attention or sit still, I can do both those things, sometimes. It is my mind that can’t stay still, and that is why I can’t (control when I) pay attention! – https://ihaveadhd.com/adult-adhd-symptoms/

  • Elyse
    Reply

    Hello, I am an ENTJ women with ADHD. I am only 16 but have been intrested in personal growth and MBTI for about 3 years ish. My younger sister is an ENTP and she has ADD. We are both homeschooled partly because of our dignoses. My dad is an ISTJ and he has ADHD. My mother does not have a nerological disorder but used to be a teacher and has dealt with the many struggles invovled with that. I have a good friend who is an INTP who also has ADHD.
    I really enjoyed this podcast. I have been looking for something like this from you guys and Im so glad it is finally here. This podcast really struck a chord with me. As always you guys were very insightful. Your work is greatly appreciated.

  • Kalynn
    Reply

    I didnt learn my personality of ISTP until 2017. But looking back at my childhood and growing up with my dad who is either INTJ or ENTJ it was very hard for me to ask my dad for help. I would usually get distracted by the tv and my dad tell me to focus on my school work which is very hard to do.

    In the high school that I went to we jad block scheduling so our classes were 1 hr 30 minutes and often times i would zone out during the lecture and would come back to realize that I had missed the whole thing because I was zoned.

    I can see how i could have some of the characteristics of someone diagnosed ADHD. I love learning but i dont like the structure of the formal education system.

  • Michael
    Reply

    Hello!

    I’m an ISTJ, and I enjoyed listening to you guys talk about this so I wanted to learn more. I wanted to find the study you were referencing, so I just wanted to post the citation below for when you put in notes for the show. (Also, I am *drooling* over the breadth of MILO’s content).

    The study I believe you were referencing (and I love a nice, clean citation, so I wanted to offer this if it’s helpful):
    Meisgeier, C. H., Poillion, M. J. & Haring, K. (1994, March). The relation between ADHD and Jungian psychological type: Commonality in Jungian psychological type preferences among students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Proceedings of the First Biennial International Conference on Education of the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (pp. 285-304). Gainesville, FL: Center for Applications of Psychological Type.

    This study was more recent and there are numerous references at the bottom of the study:
    Amos, S. P., Homan, G. J., Sollo, N., Ahlers-Schmidt, C. R., Engel, M., & Rawlins, P. (2017). The Relationship of Personality Style and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children. Kansas journal of medicine, 10(2), 26–29. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5733411/)

    You guys are awesome. Thanks for being part of my weekly routine!

    • Michael
      Reply

      Seeing other replies submitted simultaneously, ignore this ^

      Also, yeah, you guys were definitely clear that this was just one study and that you’d be happy to see more information presented. As you have always said, this is just one data point, one node, and not the definitive conclusion or end-all-be-all. It’s an invitation to an interesting conversation. It definitely got me curious, and despite being an ISTJ, I love hearing your stream of consciousness discussions haha 🙂

      • Antonia Dodge
        Reply

        Hey, Michael – I edited the comment for accuracy. The study you linked to had 1/5th the number of participants, though it is interesting to look at the numbers to compare/contrast.

        If we put you onto MILO, then honestly the purpose of the podcast was accomplished. 😛

        -A-

      • Jacqui
        Reply

        As a person with ADD and ESTJ preferences this made me feel extra special. Lol.

  • Naomi Most
    Reply

    With all due respect, it’s important to be cautious with the interpretation of results from just one study.

    With very little digging I found a more recent study (2017) that looked at very similar parameters (children diagnosed with ADHD, n = 107) that came to very different conclusions.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5733411/

    Apparently their number one type with ADHD was ISTJ. And ENTPs held a respectable 5% of cases.

    I can’t say either these findings or the ones you talk about are “correct”; i haven’t seen the study you referenced in the podcast, but as I listened, what I didn’t hear from you guys was the size of the cohort studied or the methods used. Those are the key tells i am listening for when I am absorbing information about a single piece of research, because those will give me clues as to what conclusions can and cannot be drawn.

    Especially when it comes to the venn diagram of clinical study and psychometrics (doubly so for the MBTI which — as much as I enjoy using it in my life — suffers from reproducibility challenges when it comes to its use scientifically) it’s really important to read papers skeptically and cross-check them with any other available research.

    • Naomi Most
      Reply

      (correction; not ISTJ but ISFJ. Midnight typo…)

    • Antonia Dodge
      Reply

      If we didn’t mention the size of the study that was an unfortunate oversight. There were 35 teachers and 614 students involved in the study.

      The paper you referenced we chose not to include primarily because there were 1/5th the number of children studied, predominantly male. The study we highlighted, though older, had far more children involved equalizing the genders.

      There is also a study done of over 1,000 people that can be found with cursory research, but both the Myers-Briggs type preferences and ADHD diagnoses were self-reported and done entirely through online correspondence (if I read the study right). The study we reference in this podcast worked directly with students, giving batteries administered in person for both type and ADHD (and what was referred to at the time as ADD).

      I don’t remember saying take the study as definitive. In fact, we were pretty clear it was an older study and would love to see a newer one (though perhaps we should have added the caveat “with similar numbers” for the study you reference and/or “as stringent guidelines” for the second one I mentioned.)

      That said, we’ll make links to newer studies under the podcast once the notes are up.

      -A-

  • Jeffrey S Brown
    Reply

    Well, I’m the “unicorn” ENTP with combined type ADHD. I did have seizures until I was 5 and was on some massive anti-convulsants. I did terrible in public school. I went into the Navy at 17. After 4 years of that, I went to college and had a ball learning new things. I graduated undergrad with a 3.0. I went on to get my masters with a 3.8. I question these studies because cognitive development continues well into our 20s. My symptoms have gotten easier to manage with age and “wisdom.”

  • Sarah
    Reply

    I’m an ENTP who was diagnosed at 40 with ADHD. In college my professors would make me run around the block if I got too excited during class. My first boss called me “a muppet on fire.” It’s been obvious but I was “a good girl” who got good grades. After your episode I’m wondering if I’m an ENFP.

    • Antonia Dodge
      Reply

      Remember, there was still a percentage of those diagnosed as ADHD who also had ENTP preferences so it is not out of the realm of possibility. That said, ENFPs and ENTPs often mistype as each other so having another look at the difference between Fi/Ti auxiliary and Fe/Te tertiary never hurts.

      -A-

  • Marie
    Reply

    As an INFP who was diagnosed with ADHD in college and has a masters in school counseling, I’m totally into this. Traditional style schooling was difficult for me in high school, but luckily my mom homeschooled me before that. I think I would have been a very unhappy kid otherwise. Now that I work with kids it seems so sad to me that they spend so much time at a desk. I’m definitely for alternative methods of learning and teaching (although I do love a good history lecture, haha). Math was especially difficult for me, which makes sense since Effectiveness is in my three year old position. However, it is interesting to me that I feel math is not as difficult now that I’m older (not that I do much advanced math), but I assume my three year old function must have grown quite a lot, plus my working memory seems to function better. Anyway, it’s all fascinating to me. I wish schools would pay better attention to this kind of research and implement more creative solutions in the education system (and that these solutions would become part of the collective unconscious so they aren’t viewed as “lesser” or unreliable).

  • Andi Anderson
    Reply

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS. I’m glad if I didn’t get the call to ask for this request that there were plenty who did.

    I am an ENFJ who was NOT diagnosed with ADHD as a kid, but as an adult. Because of my ability to adapt and desire to please people I could generally hide my symptoms. I got great grades and generally stayed out of trouble and was exceptionally good at charming my way out of forgotten homework issues and general mistakes. No one ever suspected.

    Alternately, I have an INFP room mate who WAS diagnosed because she did not cope with society that well but who now has reason to believe she was MISdiagnosed. She has found my level of forget-fullness and zoning out in conversation or simply not remembering basic requests unfathomable. From the outside, I’m the overachiever who has it together and she’s the spacey hippy.

    So this has led me to wonder in general about misdiagnosing and missing kids in general because of personal typing. It’s really hard to tell the difference between someone not functioning with society because they don’t want to and someone who generally wants to but is physically inhibited by neurodivergence. It’s fascinating. In particular, it was very difficult until I did a serious deep dive into cognitive functions to determine myself as having judging preference. I do not always have the ability to produce the structure in my own life–though I outsource it as much as possible. I LIKE things organized. I LIKE to know what’s coming and I am a rule follower. But I’ve simultaneously had to adapt to the occasional futility of my own ability to produce those things and am a touch more flexible and forgiving of disorganization than I would otherwise be. So much of my behavior is about producing an end-result while having to adapt to my deficiencies. (THERE ARE SO MANY VISUAL REMINDERS IN MY HOUSE). I don’t love being somewhat eccentric as a result, which feels alien, but sometimes it’s the best I can do.

    Anyway, THANK YOU for reflecting on this issue and casting a light on the research which has been done. I certainly hope more up-to-date research is done soon particularly with better diagnosing tools beyond the specific school setting being hard on some types regardless and navigable by others in spite of not actually getting everything they need out of it.

    • Elise Allan
      Reply

      Andi Anderson, I was very touched by what you wrote. I have a close family member who struggles with (self-diagnosed) ADD and so I’m aware of the huge amount of struggle and effort to deal with day to day life that might not be apparent to the outside world. Meanwhile I’m an INFP who has often zoned out, simply because I don’t have much patience with giving my attention to external information that I haven’t chosen. Studying MBTI is definitely helping with that, as when someone’s talking about something that doesn’t intrinsically interest me, I can keep focused because I’m working out what function is being described. I wish you all the best. I’m learning, through my family member, about lots of strategies for managing ADD, that are really useful to me too.

    • Marissa
      Reply

      THIS!!! I am the exact name. Strong ENFJ, with consistent results taken twice with at least 7 years in between. Great/behaved kid, great grades (mostly) in school, and could charm my way out of anything.

      I am not particularly hyperactive externally as it’s often described, but very hyperactive inside my brain. I struggle with the attentive and hyperactive definitions because I feel neither fully encompasses the ADHD experience.

      I am particularly curious as to how so many ADHD-having adults report as INFJ. I find that P stereotypical behaviors reflect ADHD actions, but that our true type/true preference may still be J – wanting order, structure, linear thinking.

      Also found this study somewhat interesting:
      https://www.researchgate.net/publication/335474291_A_Balanced_Approach_to_ADHD_and_Personality_Assessment_A_Jungian_Model

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