Date of Award


Degree Name

Communication Studies


College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Jill Underhill, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Clinton Brown

Third Advisor

Dr. Barbara Tarter


The purpose of this study was to understand the way romantic relationship tensions are communicated between partners in couples affected by Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Extant research asserts that the presence of ADHD in one relational partner of romantic relationships is associated with relational dissatisfaction, poor relational communication practices, and a higher risk for dissolution of the relationship (Bruner et al., 2015; Eakin et al., 2004; Robin & Payson, 2002). Little effort has been made to understand what can be done to mitigate these risks. The present study focused on the communication practices at work in four cohabiting, romantic pairs consisting of a neurodivergent (ADHD) and neurotypical (non-ADHD) partner. The couples were screened for eligibility, then interviewed separately about their relational communication behaviors, their experiences with relational tensions, and how they manage dialectics within their relationship. Using Baxter and Montgomery’s Relational Dialectics Theory (1996), this research highlights the way these mixed-neurotype couples successfully manage their romantic relationships.


Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder – Case Studies.

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder – Social aspects – United States.

Attention-deficit disorder in adults – Relations.

Attention-deficit disorder in adults – Communications.