Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 377–389 | Cite as

Atypical Behaviors and Comorbid Externalizing Symptoms Equally Predict Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder’s Social Functioning

  • Paulo A. Graziano
  • Gary R. Geffken
  • Joseph P. McNamara
Original Article


The goal of the current study was to determine within a clinical sample what differentiates children with ADHD who experience social functioning difficulties from those who appear to have healthy social functioning. Participants for this study included 62 children (mean age = 11.3 years) with a DSM-IV diagnosis of ADHD confirmed by a comprehensive clinical diagnostic assessment. Multiple indicators of children’s social functioning were collected via parent report including: social skills, social adaptability, peer difficulties, and social quality of life. Parent reports of children’s externalizing, internalizing, and atypical behaviors were also collected. Results indicated that both externalizing symptoms and atypical behaviors predicted children with ADHD’s social functioning, even after controlling for ADHD symptoms severity. No association was found between internalizing symptoms and social functioning. The current study provides initial data suggesting that atypical behaviors found in children with ADHD are as powerful as comorbid externalizing symptoms in predicting social functioning difficulties. Due to the shared variance from relying solely on parent report, it will be critical for future research to replicate our findings using multi-informant data such as peer and teacher reports which provide unique information on children’s social functioning.


ADHD Social functioning Atypical behaviors Externalizing Internalizing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paulo A. Graziano
    • 1
  • Gary R. Geffken
    • 2
  • Joseph P. McNamara
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Children and FamiliesFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Psychiatry, Pediatrics, & Clinical and Health PsychologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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