University of Kentucky

Poster Title

Emotional Understanding as a Mediator of ADHD and Negative Social Outcomes

Presenter Information

Holly Poore, University of Kentucky

Institution

University of Kentucky

Abstract

Children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder are more likely than peers without the disorder to be disliked or rejected by peers. In turn, social rejection of children with ADHD may be tied to more aggression or other negative behaviors shown by these children. The present study investigated to what extent children with ADHD symptoms exhibit negative behaviors during a playgroup with previously unacquainted children and whether children’s understanding of others’ emotions explained the relationship between ADHD symptoms and negative social outcomes. Sixty-one children aged 8-10 years old watched an episode of a televised family comedy. Then, participants were asked cued recall questions concerning the story characters’ emotions and internal states. Children later participated in playgroups of 6-10 unfamiliar children. The children completed six tasks, including creating a group name, cooperating to solve a problem, and completing a puzzle. The number of ADHD symptoms was measured by parent and teacher reports. Emotional understanding was measured by the number of correctly answered cued recall questions about TV characters’ emotions and internal states. Behavior measurements included the number of positive and negative behaviors displayed, as well as global ratings of each child’ positive and negative behaviors, acceptance and rejection, and emotion dysregulation. Preliminary analyses indicated that children rated higher in ADHD symptoms by parents and teachers were rated by independent coders as higher in negative behaviors and emotion dysregulation than children rated lower in ADHD symptoms. Further analyses will evaluate the role of emotional understanding in the relation between ADHD symptoms and social behaviors.

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Emotional Understanding as a Mediator of ADHD and Negative Social Outcomes

Children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder are more likely than peers without the disorder to be disliked or rejected by peers. In turn, social rejection of children with ADHD may be tied to more aggression or other negative behaviors shown by these children. The present study investigated to what extent children with ADHD symptoms exhibit negative behaviors during a playgroup with previously unacquainted children and whether children’s understanding of others’ emotions explained the relationship between ADHD symptoms and negative social outcomes. Sixty-one children aged 8-10 years old watched an episode of a televised family comedy. Then, participants were asked cued recall questions concerning the story characters’ emotions and internal states. Children later participated in playgroups of 6-10 unfamiliar children. The children completed six tasks, including creating a group name, cooperating to solve a problem, and completing a puzzle. The number of ADHD symptoms was measured by parent and teacher reports. Emotional understanding was measured by the number of correctly answered cued recall questions about TV characters’ emotions and internal states. Behavior measurements included the number of positive and negative behaviors displayed, as well as global ratings of each child’ positive and negative behaviors, acceptance and rejection, and emotion dysregulation. Preliminary analyses indicated that children rated higher in ADHD symptoms by parents and teachers were rated by independent coders as higher in negative behaviors and emotion dysregulation than children rated lower in ADHD symptoms. Further analyses will evaluate the role of emotional understanding in the relation between ADHD symptoms and social behaviors.