Problematic interactions between parents and their children with ADHD: Role of attributions, emotions, discipline practices, and comorbid ODD
Two empirical studies are presented that specifically examine three parenting factors known to contribute to the problematic relationships observed between mothers and their children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Mothers causal attributions for, their emotional reactions to, and their discipline towards their children's misbehaviors. Parenting factors in both studies were elicited using a written scenario methodology. ^ In the first study, mothers' attributions, emotional reactions, and discipline towards their children's inattentive-overactive (IO) and oppositional-defiant (OD) behaviors were compared in 41 mothers of children with ADHD, 44 mothers of children with ADHD and comorbid Conduct Problems (ADHD+CP), and 59 mothers of children without ADHD. Parenting variables were also compared in relation to child gender. Findings indicate that mothers of children with ADHD+CP did not demonstrate a hostile attribution bias but, similar to mothers of children with ADHD, viewed child misbehaviors as stemming from uncontrollable, disease-related sources. However, mothers of children with ADHD+CP viewed their children's misbehaviors as stemming from more stable sources than mothers of children with ADHD who, in turn, demonstrated higher attributions of stability than mothers of children without ADHD. Mothers of children with ADHD demonstrated a unique profile of discipline towards girls' misbehaviors, including significantly higher levels of guilt-induction and humiliation towards girls' IO behaviors and significantly higher responsiveness towards girls' OD behaviors. Finally, the non-blaming attributions held by mothers of children in the ADHD and ADHD+CP group failed to protect against the high levels of negative emotion experienced by these mothers. ^ The second study extends these results by exploring mothers' causal attributions and negative emotions towards their children as predictors of their discipline practices. The prediction that emotion mediates the link between attribution and response was not supported. Rather, results indicate that mothers' attributions regarding the chronicity of their child's misbehavior fully mediated the link between their negative emotion and discipline practices. Furthermore, mothers' attributions of chronicity accounted for unique variance in predicting mothers' punitive and responsive discipline techniques, even after controlling for child behavioral symptomatology and maternal negative emotion. Results are discussed by examining factors that may contribute to the development of mothers' beliefs regarding the chronicity of their children's behaviors. Findings suggest that attributing child misbehaviors to disease-related sources is less child-serving than originally thought. ^
Psychology, Social|Psychology, Clinical|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies
Danielle Alexandra Ruskin,
"Problematic interactions between parents and their children with ADHD: Role of attributions, emotions, discipline practices, and comorbid ODD"
Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access).