Original Article

Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 168-192

First online:

A Systematic Review of Parenting in Relation to the Development of Comorbidities and Functional Impairments in Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

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This review synthesizes recent research evidence regarding the parenting characteristics associated with families with children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is a complex, heterogeneous disorder with a range of genetic and environmental factors that contribute to its behavioral expression and different developmental trajectories. The current review adopts a developmental psychopathology perspective to conceptualize the risk and protective factors that might shape the developmental pathways of the disorder across different domains. Following from Johnston and Mash’s review (Johnston and Mash, Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev 4:183–207, 2001), the present review systematically examines empirical studies from 2000–2008 that investigate parenting variables in relation to the development of children with ADHD, with a particular focus on the development of externalizing and internalizing comorbidities, as well as functional impairments in academic and social contexts. The most recent research evidence uses correlational designs to show that ADHD is associated with problematic family functioning, including greater stress within the family, higher rates of parental psychopathology and conflicted parent–child relationships, which appears to be exacerbated in children with comorbid oppositional and conduct problems. However, there is an absence of literature that considers the role that parents play in contributing to children’s development in areas such as academic achievement and peer competence, as well as the development of internalizing difficulties. Future research should examine family factors that are associated with resilience in children with ADHD, using longitudinal designs that reflect the dynamic changes associated with a developmental psychopathology framework.


Parenting Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder Comorbidities Functional impairments