European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 201–214 | Cite as

Rates of peer victimization in young adolescents with ADHD and associations with internalizing symptoms and self-esteem

  • Stephen P. BeckerEmail author
  • Krista R. Mehari
  • Joshua M. Langberg
  • Steven W. Evans
Original Contribution


The purposes of the present study were to: (1) describe rates of peer victimization in young adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, (2) evaluate the association between types of peer victimization (i.e., physical, relational, and reputational) and internalizing problems (i.e., anxiety, depression, and self-esteem), and (3) examine whether associations between victimization and internalizing problems differ for males or females. Participants were 131 middle-school students (ages 11–15 years, 73 % male, 76 % White) diagnosed with ADHD who completed ratings of victimization, anxiety, depression, and self-esteem. Over half of the participants (57 %) reported experiencing at least one victimization behavior at a rate of once per week or more, with higher rates of relational victimization (51 %) than reputational victimization (17 %) or physical victimization (14 %). Males reported experiencing more physical victimization than females, but males and females did not differ in rates of relational or reputational victimization. Whereas relational and physical victimization were both uniquely associated with greater anxiety for both males and females, relational victimization was associated with greater depressive symptoms and lower self-esteem for males but not females. These findings indicate that young adolescents with ADHD frequently experience peer victimization and that the association between victimization and internalizing problems among young adolescents with ADHD differs as a result of victimization type, internalizing domain, and sex.


ADHD Adolescence Anxiety Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder Depression Peers Prevalence Sex differences Victimisation 



This research was supported by grants to Steven W. Evans and Joshua M. Langberg from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH; R01MH082864, R01MH082865). Stephen P. Becker is supported by award number K23MH108603 from the NIMH. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen P. Becker
    • 1
    Email author
  • Krista R. Mehari
    • 2
  • Joshua M. Langberg
    • 3
  • Steven W. Evans
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical PsychologyCincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.The Violence Prevention InitiativeThe Children’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyOhio UniversityAthensUSA

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