This study examined the relative contribution of parental Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and depression symptoms to the parenting stress of mothers and fathers of adolescents with ADHD.
The sample comprised 83 families with adolescents 13 to 18-years of age (48 with ADHD, 35 without ADHD). Parents provided ratings of parenting stress and their own ADHD and depression symptoms by completing standardized self-report rating scales. Two domains of parenting stress were investigated: Stress in relation to adolescent behaviors and parent-adolescent relationships (Adolescent-Focused Stress domain; AFS), and stress involving the impact of the adolescent on parental roles, relationships with others and sense of competence (Parent-Focused Stress domain; PFS).
In addition to adolescent ADHD status, mothers’ ADHD and depression symptoms were predictors of maternal AFS (R2 = 0.51, F = 24.50, p < 0.001). Only maternal depression predicted mothers’ PFS (R2 = 0.37, F = 12.11, p < 0.001). Paternal AFS was predicted by adolescent ADHD status (R2 = 0.25, F=4.81, p < 0.01). Paternal PFS was predicted by fathers’ depression symptoms and by mothers’ ADHD symptoms (R2 = 0.30, F = 4.42, p < 0.01).
These findings suggest that mothers’ and fathers’ parenting stress is associated with their adolescent children’s ADHD symptoms and their own depression symptoms. Mothers’ ADHD symptoms are also associated with their own AFS and fathers’ parenting stress.