A Longitudinal Assessment of the Associations Among Response Access, Attention Problems, and Aggression during Childhood
Children with ADHD symptoms often display social competence deficits, yet mechanisms for their social difficulties remain unclear. Using data from the normative sample of non-intervention respondents (N = 387; 50 % male; 49 % non-European-American; age at initial assessment: M = 6.5 years, SD = 0.48) in the Fast Track project (Lochman and CPPRG Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 63:549–59, 1995), the social-information processing ability of accessing responses for social situations was modeled across four time points from kindergarten to third grade. Teacher-rated aggression and ADHD symptoms were included as predictors of the intercept and slope. Low ADHD symptoms were associated with a decline in aggressive responses across childhood, whereas high ADHD symptoms were linked to an increase in aggressive responses that decelerated between second and third grade. Regarding competent responses, low ADHD symptoms predicted increases in competent responses, but this increase decelerated between second and third grade. High ADHD symptoms were also associated with a slight increase in competent responses into first grade, but competent responses decreased from first to third grade. Neither aggression nor the interaction of ADHD symptoms and aggression accounted for a significant amount of variance in aggressive or competent responses. Future research should identify if differences in response access associated with high and low ADHD symptoms link to difficulties making and keeping friendships.
KeywordsSocial competence ADHD symptoms Aggression Longitudinal
This work was supported by National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Career Development Award K01 DA024116 to the third author. The Fast Track data have been collected and managed with the support of National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grants R18 MH48043, R18 MH50951, R18 MH50952, and R18 MH50953. The Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and NIDA also provided support for Fast Track through a memorandum of agreement with the NIMH. Fast Track work was also supported in part by Department of Education grant S184U30002 and NIMH grants K05MH00797 and K05MH01027.
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