Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 107–118 | Cite as

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

  • Imola MartonEmail author
  • Judith Wiener
  • Maria Rogers
  • Chris Moore
  • Rosemary Tannock


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.


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) Empathy Social perspective taking Language Oppositional and conduct problems 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Imola Marton
    • 1
    Email author
  • Judith Wiener
    • 1
  • Maria Rogers
    • 1
  • Chris Moore
    • 2
  • Rosemary Tannock
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Applied Psychology, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

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