Parental efficacy and child behavior in a community sample of children with and without attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

  • Brian A. Primack
  • Kristy M. Hendricks
  • Meghan R. Longacre
  • Anna M. Adachi-Mejia
  • Julia E. Weiss
  • Linda J. Titus
  • Michael L. Beach
  • Madeline A. Dalton
Original Article


Most studies of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) youth have obtained data from the perspective of either children or parents, but not both simultaneously. The purpose of this study was to examine child and parent perspectives on parenting in a large community-based sample of children with and without ADHD. We identified children in grades 4–6 and their parents through surveys administered to a random sample of public schools. We used multivariable logistic regression to determine independent associations between child and parent characteristics and the presence of ADHD while controlling for covariates and clustering by school. Sufficient data were achieved for 2,509 child/parent dyads. Ten percent of youths (n = 240) had been diagnosed with ADHD. Compared with those without ADHD, those with ADHD were more commonly male (67.9 vs. 48.0 %, p < .001) and age 12 or over (16.3 vs. 10.3 %). After adjusting for covariates and clustering, compared to children without ADHD, children with ADHD were significantly more likely to report lower self-regulation (OR = 0.68, 95 % CI = 0.53, 0.88) and higher levels of rebelliousness (OR = 2.00, 95 % CI = 1.52, 2.69). Compared with parents whose children did not have ADHD, parents of children with ADHD rated their overall parental efficacy substantially lower (OR = 0.23, 95 % CI = 0.15, 0.33). However, child assessment of parenting style was similar by ADHD. Despite the internal challenges community-based youth with ADHD face, many parents of ADHD youth exhibit valuable parental skills from the perspective of their children. Feedback of this information to parents may improve parental self-efficacy, which is known to be positively associated with improved ADHD outcomes.


ADHD Child behavior Parental efficacy School performance 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian A. Primack
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kristy M. Hendricks
    • 4
    • 5
  • Meghan R. Longacre
    • 4
    • 5
  • Anna M. Adachi-Mejia
    • 5
  • Julia E. Weiss
    • 4
    • 5
  • Linda J. Titus
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • Michael L. Beach
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • Madeline A. Dalton
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of MedicineUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Division of Adolescent Medicine, Department of PediatricsUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA
  3. 3.Program for Research on Media and HealthUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA
  4. 4.Community Health Research Program, Hood Center for Children and FamiliesDartmouth Medical SchoolDartmouthUSA
  5. 5.Department of PediatricsDartmouth Medical SchoolDartmouthUSA
  6. 6.Department of Community and Family MedicineDartmouth Medical SchoolDartmouthUSA

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