Symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and home learning environment (HLE): findings from a longitudinal study
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The concept of “Home Learning Environment” (HLE) covers activities in a family providing intellectual stimulation for a child, such as reading to him or her or visiting libraries. Numerous studies have shown an association between HLE and children's cognitive development. In this longitudinal study, we focus on HLE as a predictor for children's behavioral development, namely, for later symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), controlling for relevant aspects like socioeconomic status (SES), or television viewing behavior. We analyzed the development of ADHD symptoms from kindergarten to the end of grade 2 and possible associations with HLE, SES, and television exposure, using a German community sample (N = 924). Results indicated that ADHD symptoms were negatively and significantly correlated to HLE for all five measurement points as well as to SES (except T4) and to television exposure for T1 to T4. Observing later development, only early HLE but not SES or television exposure served as a significant predictor for ADHD symptoms at school, when age, sex, and ADHD symptoms in kindergarten were controlled for. A structural equation model showed that HLE acted as a mediator between SES and later ADHD symptoms. Our results highlight the importance of the concept of home learning environment also for children's behavioral development. As a consequence, parents should be supported in offering their children a more favorable learning environment.
KeywordsADHD Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder Home learning environment Socioeconomic status Television viewing behavior
We thank the Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sports in Baden-Wuerttemberg for the support of this study as well as all involved investigators, the children, their parents, and teachers for their commitment. Especially, we would like to thank our cooperation partners of the scientific advisory team of the project “school-prepared child” in Würzburg (Robin Segerer), Heidelberg (Eva Randhawa, Isabelle Keppler, Miriam Johnson and Hermann Schöler), and Frankfurt (Katja Krebs, Hanna Wagner, Jan-Henning Ehm and Marcus Hasselhorn). Without their input, planning, and realization of the study, this article could not have been written.
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