Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 279–302 | Cite as

Co-occurring Mental Health Problems and Peer Functioning Among Youth with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Review and Recommendations for Future Research

  • Stephen P. Becker
  • Aaron M. Luebbe
  • Joshua M. Langberg


It is well established that children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) frequently experience co-occurring mental health problems in addition to difficulties in their peer relationships. Although substantial research has focused on the extent to which peer functioning contributes to subsequent co-occurring mental health problems, much less research has considered how co-occurring mental health problems affect peer functioning domains. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to examine the effect of co-occurring mental health problems on the peer functioning of youth with ADHD. The impact of co-occurring externalizing (i.e., oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder) and internalizing (i.e., anxiety, depression) symptoms are reviewed, with a focus on whether these co-occurring symptoms exacerbate, attenuate, or have no effect across peer domains of social skills/competence, peer status, and friendship among youth with ADHD. Drawing from a developmental psychopathology framework, this review then draws attention to relevant causal processes and developmental cascades (including social-cognitive, affective, and family and parenting factors) in offering promising avenues for future work.


ADHD Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder Comorbidity Developmental psychopathology Friendship Peer relations Peer status Social functioning Social skills 



This article is based upon a paper written by the first author in partial fulfillment of the comprehensive exam requirement at Miami University. The authors would like to thank Carl Paternite, Vaishali Raval, and Robert Burke for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of this article. Appreciation is also extended to Haley Strass and Andrew Flannery for their assistance with the literature search. During completion of this manuscript, the first author was supported in part by the Ohio Department of Mental Health (ODMH Grant 12.1281), and the third author was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences (R305A090059) and the National Institute of Mental Health (R01MH083665). The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not represent views of the funding sources.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen P. Becker
    • 1
  • Aaron M. Luebbe
    • 1
  • Joshua M. Langberg
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMiami UniversityOxfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Cincinnati School of Medicine and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA

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