, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 107-118
Date: 20 Aug 2008

Empathy and Social Perspective Taking in Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

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This study explored empathy and social perspective taking in 8 to 12 year old children with and without Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The sample comprised 92 children, 50 with a diagnosis of ADHD and 42 typically developing comparison children. Although children with ADHD were rated by their parents as less empathic than children without ADHD, this difference was accounted for by co-occurring oppositional and conduct problems among children in the ADHD sample. Children with ADHD used lower levels of social perspective taking coordination in their definition of problems, identification of feelings, and evaluation of outcomes than children without ADHD, and these differences persisted after the role of language abilities, intelligence and oppositional and conduct problems were taken into account. Girls were more empathic and had higher overall social perspective taking scores than boys. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

This research was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).