Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that typically presents with challenges of attention, impulsivity, self-regulation, memory, and sometimes, physical restlessness. Many practitioners, as well as the general public, often treat ADHD as a “disorder” that needs to be “cured,” and precious few researchers and practitioners look to understand and work with the ADHD nervous system rather than trying to align it to the “norm.” This paper will examine ADHD from a positive focus: that it is a nervous system that works extremely well as long as certain criteria are met. It will examine what ADHD is, where its unique challenges lie, and present a model of ADHD where the brain of the individual requires more interest-driven stimulation than a neurotypical brain in order to operate at its best. Positive psychology will be proposed as an essential component in any work with individuals with ADHD. Then, using the scientific debate around willpower failure (a common ADHD challenge), four differing theories of why willpower may fail will be examined and explored from the positive ADHD perspective of interest level, rather than as a dysfunction. This exploration may offer a new understanding of willpower that could greatly benefit people with ADHD, and potentially the non-ADHD population as well.


ADHD, ego depletion, executive function, interest, willpower, positive psychology, mindset theory, autonomous self-regulation, shifting priorities model, I Model


Well-Being/Flourishing, Education, Counseling/Coaching, Family/Parenting/Children, Positive Emotions, Other Topics


Literature Review



Date Posted: 04 August 2020