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Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 259–271 | Cite as

Observed Free-Play Patterns of Children with ADHD and Their Real-Life Friends

  • Sébastien Normand
  • Marie Michèle Soucisse
  • Marie Pier Vézina Melançon
  • Barry H. SchneiderEmail author
  • Matthew D. Lee
  • Marie-France Maisonneuve
Article

Abstract

Previous observational studies conducted in highly structured, analog situations indicate that children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) mismanage their relationships with same-age peers and friends. Such structured situations may not, however, fully represent the true nature of children’s play, which is typically characterized by free choice, intrinsic motivation, and spontaneity. The unique objective of the current observational study was to describe how 87 children with ADHD and 46 comparison (76% boys) aged 7–13 years behave when interacting with their real-life dyadic friends during an unstructured, free-play situation. Results indicate that dyads comprising one referred child with ADHD and an invited friend (“ADHD dyads”) engaged in less cooperative play, displayed less companionship, and showed less sensitivity to friends than comparison dyads. ADHD dyads also engaged in more conflict and exhibited significantly more negative affect than comparison dyads. These findings complement and extend, possibly with somewhat enhanced ecological validity, results obtained in previous studies on the friendships of children with ADHD featuring closed-field observations and questionnaire methodology.

Keywords

ADHD friendship peer relationships observational study free play 

Notes

Funding

This research was financially supported by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. We express appreciation to all the children, parents, and teachers who participated in our study, and the schools and health professionals who provided referrals. The dedicated assistance of several research assistants, coders, and volunteers is also gratefully acknowledged. Some of the research reported herein was completed for a doctoral thesis (Marie Michèle Soucisse) and for an honors thesis (Marie Pier Vézina Melançon) at the Université du Québec en Outaouais, supervised by Sébastien Normand.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in the study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the University of Ottawa and Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario institutional research committees and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included.

Supplementary material

10802_2018_437_MOESM1_ESM.docx (109 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 109 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sébastien Normand
    • 1
  • Marie Michèle Soucisse
    • 2
  • Marie Pier Vézina Melançon
    • 3
  • Barry H. Schneider
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  • Matthew D. Lee
    • 6
  • Marie-France Maisonneuve
    • 7
  1. 1.Département de Psychoéducation et de PsychologieUniversité du Québec en OutaouaisGatineauCanada
  2. 2.Institut du savoir MontfortHôpital MontfortOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Département de PsychologieUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontréalCanada
  4. 4.Psychology DepartmentBoston CollegeChestnut HillUSA
  5. 5.School of PsychologyUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  6. 6.Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special EducationUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  7. 7.Clinique d’apprentissage spécialiséeGatineauCanada

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