After serving in the United States Air Force Dr. Barkley obtained his Bachelor's Degree with Honors in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1973. He then attended Bowling Green State University in Ohio where he received his Masters Degree in 1975 and his Ph.D. in 1977 in Clinical Psychology, receiving the Distinguished Dissertation Award for his research on the effects of medication on children with ADHD. He then attended the Oregon Health Sciences University for internship training in developmental, learning, and behavioral disorders of children. Thereafter, in 1977, he joined the Department of Neurology at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCOW) and Milwaukee Children's Hospital where he worked in the Child Neurology Division and eventually founded the Neuropsychology Service at MCOW. He served as its Chief and as Associate Professor of Neurology until 1985. Dr. Barkley then relocated to the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he served as the Director of Psychology and as a Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology (1985-2002). While there, he established the research clinics for both child and adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders. In 2003, Dr. Barkley relocated to the Charleston, SC area where he became a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Dr. Barkley has been awarded a Diplomate (board certification) in three specialties, these being Clinical Psychology (ABPP), Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, and Clinical Neuropsychology (ABCN, ABPP). He is a clinical scientist, educator, and practitioner who has authored, co-authored, or co-edited 20 books and clinical manuals. He has published more than 200 scientific articles and book chapters related to the nature, assessment, and treatment of ADHD and related disorders (see Publications). In 1993, he founded a bimonthly newsletter for clinical professionals, The ADHD Report (Guilford Publications). He has created seven professional videotapes on ADHD and defiant children, three of which have won national awards, including the 1992 and 1994 Golden Apple Award for educational videos from the National Education Association. Dr. Barkley has served on the editorial boards of 11 scientific journals and as a reviewer for numerous others. He was the President of the Section of Clinical Child Psychology, Division 12, of the American Psychological Association (1988), and was President of the International Society for Research in Child and Adolescent Psychopathology (1991).
Dr. Barkley has presented more than 700 invited workshops, public addresses, and scientific presentations internationally, including Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Israel, Russia, Kenya, Venezuela, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Spain, Italy, Canada, and Great Britain. He has appeared on many nationally televised programs to discuss topics pertaining to ADHD, including: Today (NBC TV, August 1991), A Closer Look with Faith Daniels (NBC TV, June 1991), and Good Morning America (ABC TV, August 1992; June 1994; August, 1998); Eye-to-Eye with Connie Chung (CBS TV, June 1994), 60 Minutes with Leslie Stall (CBS-TV, November, 1995), Real Life (NBC-TV, March & September 1996), Day & Date (February 1996), Leeza with Leeza Gibbons (ABC-TV, March 1996), The Early Show with Bryant Gumbel (CBS, Sept. 2000), the BBC (November, 2000), Frontline (PBS, April, 2001), Investigative Reports (A & E, April, 2001) and on a variety of regional radio and television programs throughout North America and internationally. He also assisted the following major magazines and newspapers, among others, with stories on ADHD: Newsweek, Time, Scientific American, Newsday, Readers Digest, The New Yorker, Parents Magazine, Woman’s Day, Cosmopolitan, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, Detroit Free Press, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Charlotte Observer, San Francisco Chronicle, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Sydney Morning Herald.
He has received numerous awards over his career for his work in ADHD and the field of psychology. In 1994, he received the Distinguished Contribution Award from the American Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology, and in 1996, he was awarded the C. Anderson Aldrich Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics for his research career in child development. In 1998, he received the Award for Distinguished Contribution to Research from the Section on Clinical Child Psychology, (now Division 53) of the American Psychological Association. In 2002, he received the Dissemination Award from the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology, Division 12, of the American Psychological Association for his career long efforts to dispel misconceptions about ADHD and to educate the public and other professionals about the science of this disorder. And in 2004, he received an award for distinguished service to the profession of psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology. In 2012, Dr. Barkley was given the Distinguished Career Award from the Division of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology of the American Psychological Association.