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Parenting Mediates Symptoms and Impairment in Children With ADHD-Inattentive Type


The current study investigates potential pathways between inattentive symptom severity, positive and negative parenting practices, and functional impairment (i.e., academic, social, and home impairment) in a sample of children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Predominantly Inattentive Type (ADHD-I). Participants included 199 children and their parents and teachers enrolled in a randomized clinical trial investigating the efficacy of an integrated psychosocial intervention for children with ADHD-I. Boys constituted slightly more than half the sample; children averaged 8.6 years of age (range = 7-11) and were from varied ethnic/racial backgrounds. As part of the initial screening and assessment procedures, parents and teachers completed questionnaires assessing child behavior and parent/family functioning. Results supported both main effects of symptoms and parenting on impairment, as well as a mediational path between symptoms and impairment via parenting, as observed by parents in the home setting. Specifically, higher severity of inattention was associated with higher rates of homework, social, and home impairment. Negative parenting contributed to homework and home impairment, and positive and negative parenting contributed to social impairment, incrementally above and beyond the impact of inattention symptom severity alone. Negative parenting partially mediated the relationship between inattentive symptom severity and impairment, such that higher rates of inattention were associated with higher rates of negative parenting, which in turn was associated with higher rates of homework, social, and home impairment. Results provide support for underlying mechanisms for associations between symptoms and impairment in children with ADHD-I and identify potential intervention targets to improve impairment experienced by these children.

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