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A Critical Review of Self-perceptions and the Positive Illusory Bias in Children with ADHD

Abstract

Despite significant functional problems in multiple domains, children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) unexpectedly provide extremely positive reports of their own competence in comparison to other criteria reflecting actual competence. This counterintuitive phenomenon is known as the positive illusory bias (PIB). This article provides a comprehensive and critical review of the literature examining the self-perceptions of children with ADHD and the PIB. Specifically, we analyze methodological and statistical challenges associated with the investigation of the phenomenon, the theoretical basis for the PIB, and the effects of sample heterogeneity on self-perception patterns. We conclude by discussing the implications of this work and providing recommendations for advancing research in this area.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Treuting and Hinshaw (2001) also failed to find evidence of higher self-reported self-perceptions in children with ADHD as compared to controls. However, the pattern of findings in this study may be better explained through sample characteristics other than ADHD (i.e., depressive symptoms). Thus, Treuting and Hinshaw’s study is discussed in more detail later in the article (see Effects of Sample Heterogeneity section).

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Correspondence to Julie Sarno Owens.

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Owens, J.S., Goldfine, M.E., Evangelista, N.M. et al. A Critical Review of Self-perceptions and the Positive Illusory Bias in Children with ADHD. Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev 10, 335–351 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10567-007-0027-3

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Keywords

  • ADHD
  • Self-perceptions
  • Positive illusions
  • Positive illusory bias
  • Children