Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 157–172 | Cite as

Co-occurring Aggressive and Depressive Symptoms as Related to Overestimations of Competence in Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder



Research indicates that on average, children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) overestimate their competence in various domains. ADHD also frequently co-occurs with disorders involving aggressive and depressive symptoms, which themselves seem to influence estimations of self-competence in social, academic, and behavioral domains. In particular, high levels of aggressive behavior are generally associated with overestimations of competence, and high levels of depressive symptoms are related to underestimations of competence. This paper reviews studies of overestimations of competence among children with ADHD and examines the extent to which comorbid aggressive or depressive symptoms may be influencing these estimates. Although significant challenges arise due to limited information regarding comorbidities and problematic methods used to assess overestimations of competence, existing evidence suggests that ADHD may be associated with overestimations of competence over and above co-occurring aggression. As well, studies suggest that comorbid depression may reduce the appearance of overestimations of competence in children with ADHD. Underlying mechanisms (e.g., neuropsychological deficits or self-protection) of overestimations in children with ADHD are discussed, each with particular clinical implications for the assessment and treatment of ADHD. Future research would do well to carefully consider and explicitly describe the comorbid aggressive and depressive characteristics among individuals with ADHD when overestimations of competence are examined.


ADHD Positive illusory bias PIB Aggression Depression Overestimation 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Amori Mikami for her helpful advice. During the writing of this paper, the first author was supported by a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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