Child Psychiatry and Human Development

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 125-146

Social Problems Associated with ADHD vs. ODD in Children Referred for Friendship Problems

  • Fred FrankelAffiliated withUCLA Department of Psychiatry
  • , David FeinbergAffiliated withUCLA Department of Psychiatry

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Four groups were composed of children referred for friendship problems (age range: 6 to 12 years old). One group was diagnosed with both Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Oppositional-Defiant Disorder (ODD), one group with ADHD only, one group with ODD only and one group with neither disorder. Parents and teachers were given questionnaires to rate the social behavior of each child. The groups differed significantly on one parent scale (Self-control) and one teacher scale (Aggression). Inspection of the items composing these scales suggested that some items measured social relationships with adults while other items measured peer relationships. Subsequent factor analysis separated peer and adult components. Analysis of subscales derived from factor analysis revealed the diagnosis of ADHD was associated with increases in classroom disruption and decreased resistance to provocation by peers, while the diagnosis of ODD was associated with increased in hostility towards peers, decreased resistance to provocation by peers and decreased respect for adults. Limitations of the study were: domains of social functioning assessed, sample size and diversity, and the absence of a comparison group with adequate peer relationships. Social skills programs should target social deficits associated with ODD and ADHD. The scales refined in the present study offer a convenient means of assessing peer dysfunction from the points of view of parents and teachers.

social problems in children Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder Oppositional-Defiant Disorder