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01-04-2011 | Uitgave 3/2011

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 3/2011

The Role of Maternal and Child ADHD Symptoms in Shaping Interpersonal Relationships

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology > Uitgave 3/2011
Marissa Swaim Griggs, Amori Yee Mikami
Belangrijke opmerkingen
This research was supported by NIMH grant 1R03MH079019 to Amori Mikami. We would like to thank the children, parents, and teachers who participated in our study, and the schools and doctors who provided referrals for this study. We also are grateful to our undergraduate research staff who assisted in data collection, data entry, and videotape coding. We also thank Robert Emery for his helpful comments on this manuscript, and Alison McGrath for her contributions to the study design.


The current study investigated the influence of maternal ADHD symptoms on: (a) mothers’ own social functioning; (b) their child’s social functioning; and (c) parent–child interactions following a lab-based playgroup involving children and their peers. Participants were 103 biological mothers of children ages 6–10. Approximately half of the children had ADHD, and the remainder were comparison youth. After statistical control of children’s ADHD diagnostic status and mothers’ educational attainment, mothers’ own inattentive ADHD symptoms predicted poorer self-reported social skills. Children with ADHD were reported to have more social problems by parents and teachers, as well as received fewer positive sociometric nominations from playgroup peers relative to children without ADHD. After control of child ADHD status, higher maternal inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity each predicted children having more parent-reported social problems; maternal inattention predicted children receiving more negative sociometric nominations from playgroup peers. There were interactions between maternal ADHD symptoms and children’s ADHD diagnostic status in predicting some child behaviors and parent–child relationship measures. Specifically, maternal inattention was associated with decreased prosocial behavior for children without ADHD, but did not influence the prosocial behavior of children with ADHD. Maternal inattention was associated with mothers’ decreased corrective feedback and, at a trend level, decreased irritability toward their children with ADHD, but there was no relationship between maternal inattention and maternal behaviors for children without ADHD. A similar pattern was observed for maternal hyperactivity/impulsivity and mothers’ observed irritability towards their children. Treatment implications of findings are discussed.

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