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17-10-2016 | Uitgave 4/2016

Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review 4/2016

A Review of Factors that Promote Resilience in Youth with ADHD and ADHD Symptoms

Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review > Uitgave 4/2016
Melissa R. Dvorsky, Joshua M. Langberg


The vast majority of research on youth with ADHD has focused on risk factors and describing the types of impairment individuals with ADHD experience. However, functional outcomes associated with ADHD are heterogeneous, and although many youth with ADHD experience significant negative outcomes (e.g., school dropout), some are successful in multiple domains of functioning (e.g., pursue and graduate college). There is a growing body of literature supporting the existence of factors that protect youth with ADHD from experiencing negative outcomes, but there is no published synthesis of this literature. Accordingly, the goals of this review are to conceptualize risk–resilience in the context of ADHD using a developmental psychopathology framework and to systematically review and critique evidence for promotive and protective factors in the context of ADHD. The literature search focused specifically on resilience in the context of ADHD symptoms or an ADHD diagnosis and identified 21 studies, including clinic, school, and community samples. Findings of promotive and/or protective factors are summarized across individual, family, and social–community systems. Overall, we know very little of the buffering processes for these youth, given that the study of promotive and protective factors in ADHD is in its infancy. The strongest evidence to date was found for social- and family-level systems. Specifically, multiple longitudinal studies support social acceptance as a protective factor, buffering against negative outcomes such as poor academic performance and comorbid depressive symptoms for youth with ADHD. There was also compelling evidence supporting positive parenting as a promotive factor. In terms of individual-level factors, positive or modest self-perceptions of competence were identified as a promotive factor in multiple studies. Future directions for research that will catalyze the study of resilience with ADHD are provided, and the potential for targeting protective mechanisms with intervention and prevention is discussed.

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