Skip to main content

Friendship as Protection from Peer Victimization for Girls with and without ADHD

Abstract

The goal of this study was to examine the ability of friendship to moderate the association between behavioral risk and peer victimization for girls with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; n = 140) and comparison girls (n = 88) in a 5-week naturalistic summer camp setting. Participants were an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse group of girls ages 6–12. Parents and teachers reported on pre-summer internalizing behavior, externalizing behavior, and social competence. Participants reported on friendships and peer victimization through a peer report measure at the summer camps; friendship was scored via mutual nominations. Pre-summer externalizing behavior, internalizing behavior, and low social competence predicted peer victimization at the summer camps. Friendship moderated the association between behavioral risk and victimization for the entire sample, such that the presence of at least one friend reduced the risk of victimization. Additional analyses suggested that girls with ADHD were no more or less protected by the presence of a friendship than were comparison girls. Finally, preliminary analyses suggested that girls having only friends with ADHD were not significantly less protected than girls with at least one comparison friend. Future directions and implications for intervention are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

Notes

  1. As is often expected from naturalistic (especially clinical) settings, there were unequal variances across the two Friendship groups for two of our variables: Internalizing (F = 7.99, p = 0.005) and Victimization (F = 39.87, p = 0.000). Because this problem was not severe, we continued to use these variables (Fox 1997).

  2. Still, such analyses sometimes lack the power to identify meaningful interactional processes (see McClelland and Judd 1993). Thus, the above moderation analyses were conducted separately for the ADHD sample and the comparison sample. For girls with ADHD, the Internalizing x Friendship interaction continued to contribute significantly to the proportion of variance of Victimization (ΔR 2 = 0.04, β = −0.40, p = 0.012), as did the Externalizing x Friendship interaction (ΔR 2 = 0.04, β = −0.35, p = 0.012). The Social Competence x Friendship interaction was not significant (ΔR 2 = 0.02, β = 0.22, p = 0.121). For comparison girls, none of the interaction effects was significant (Internalizing: ΔR 2 = 0.00, β = 0.13, p = 0.639; Externalizing ΔR 2 = 0.00, β = 0.02, p = 0.953; Social Competence: ΔR 2 = 0.00, β = 0.12, p = 0.629). Post-hoc probing (Holmbeck 2002; results available from authors upon request) suggested that friendship may not be as important a protective mechanism for comparison girls as for girls with ADHD. Still, the overall lower rates and variability of problematic behaviors and victimization for the comparison group could explain this difference. Additionally, the three-way interaction effects were not significant and these findings must therefore be interpreted with caution.

References

  • Achenbach, T. M. (1991). Manual for child behavior checklist and revised child behavior profile. Burlington: University Associates in Psychiatry.

    Google Scholar 

  • Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bagwell, C. L., Newcomb, A. F., & Bukowski, W. M. (1998). Preadolescent friendship and peer rejection as predictors of adult adjustment. Child Development, 69, 140–153.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Barkley, R. A. (1997). ADHD and the nature of self-control. New York: Guilford Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Berndt, T. J. (2002). Friendship quality and social development. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 11, 7–10.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Blachman, D. R. (2005). Predictors of peer rejection, acceptance, and victimization among girls with and without ADHD. Dissertation Abstracts International Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 65, 4817. (UMI No. 3146795)

  • Blachman, D. R., & Hinshaw, S. P. (2002). Patterns of friendship among girls with and without attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 30, 625–640.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Bollmer, J. M., Milich, R., Harris, M. J., & Maras, M. A. (2005). A friend in need: The role of friendship quality as a protective factor in peer victimization and bullying. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 20, 701–712.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Boulton, M. J., Trueman, M., Chau, C., Whitehand, C., & Amatya, K. (1999). Concurrent and longitudinal links between friendship and peer victimization: Implications for befriending interventions. Journal of Adolescence, 22, 461–466.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Cairns, R. B., Cairns, B. D., Neckerman, H. J., Gest, S. D., & Gariépy, J. (1988). Social networks and aggressive behavior: Peer support or peer rejection? Developmental Psychology, 24, 815–823.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chen, W. J., Faraone, S. V., Biederman, J., & Tsuang, M. T. (1994). Diagnostic accuracy of the child behavior checklist scales for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: A receiver-operating characteristic analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 62, 1017–1025.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Coie, J. D., Dodge, K. A., & Kupersmidt, J. B. (1990). Peer group behavior and social status. In S. R. Asher & J. D. Coie (Eds.), Peer rejection in childhood. Cambridge studies in social and emotional development (pp. 17–59). New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Crick, N. R., & Grotpeter, J. K. (1995). Relational aggression, gender, and social-psychological adjustment. Child Development, 66, 710–712.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Cullerton-Sen, C. L. (2007). Physical and relational victimization and school adjustment: The impact of coping strategies and disconnection. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences, 67, 2461. (UMI No. 3225727)

  • Dishion, T. J. (2000). Cross-setting consistency in early adolescent psychopathology: Deviant friendships and problem behavior sequelae. Journal of Personality, 68, 1109–1126.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Egan, S. K., & Perry, D. G. (1998). Does low self-regard invite victimization? Developmental Psychology, 34, 299–309.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Fox, C. L., & Boulton, M. J. (2006). Friendship as a moderator of the relationship between social skills problems and peer victimisation. Aggressive Behavior, 32, 110–121.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fox, J. (1997). Applied regression analysis, linear models, and related methods. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Furman, W., & Robbins, P. (1985). What’s the point? Issues in the selection of treatment objectives. In B. Schneider, K. Rubin, & J. Leddingham (Eds.), Children’s relations: Issues in assessment and intervention (pp. 41–54). New York: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gresham, F. M., & Little, S. G. (1993). Peer-referenced assessment strategies. In T. H. Ollendick & M. Hersen (Eds.), Handbook of child and adolescent assessment (pp. 165–179). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

    Google Scholar 

  • Grotpeter, J. K., & Crick, N. R. (1996). Relational aggression, overt aggression, and friendship. Child Development, 67, 2328–2338.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hanish, L. D., Ryan, P., Martin, C. L., & Fabes, R. A. (2005). The social context of young children’s peer victimization. Social Development, 14, 2–19.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hinshaw, S. P. (2002). Preadolescent girls with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: I. Background chatacteristics, comorbidity, cognitive and social functioning, and parenting practices. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 70, 1086–1098.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hinshaw, S. P., & Blachman, D. R. (2005). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in girls. In D. J. Bell, S. L. Foster, & E. J. Mash (Eds.), Handbook of behavioral and emotional problems in girls. Issues in clinical child psychology (pp. 117–147). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Hinshaw, S. P., Carte, E. T., Sami, N., Treuting, J. J., & Zupan, B. A. (2002). Preadolescent girls with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: II. Neuropsychological performance in relation to subtypes and individual classification. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 70, 1099–1111.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hodges, E. V. E., Boivin, M., Vitaro, F., & Bukowski, W. M. (1999). The power of friendship: Protection against an escalating cycle of peer victimization. Developmental Psychology, 35, 94–101.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hodges, E. V. E., Malone, M. J., & Perry, D. G. (1997). Individual risk and social risk as interacting determinants of victimization in the peer group. Developmental Psychology, 33, 1032–1039.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hodges, E. V. E., & Perry, D. G. (1999). Personal and interpersonal antecedents and consequences of victimization by peers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76, 677–685.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Holmbeck, G. N. (2002). Post-hoc probing of significant moderational and mediational effects in studies of pediatric populations. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 27, 87–96.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hoza, B., Mrug, S., Gerdes, A. C., Hinshaw, S. P., Bukowski, W. M., Gold, J. A., et al. (2005). What aspects of peer relationships are impaired in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder? Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73, 411–423.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hoza, B., Mrug, S., Pelham, W. E., Jr., Greiner, A. R., & Gnagy, E. M. (2003). A friendship intervention for children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: Preliminary findings. Journal of Attention Disorders, 6, 87–98.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Humphrey, J. L., Storch, E. A., & Geffken, G. R. (2007). Peer victimization in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Child Health Care, 11, 248–260.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kendler, K. S. (1990). The super-normal control group in psychiatric genetics: Possible artifactual evidence for co aggregation. Psychiatric Genetics, 1, 45–53.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kochenderfer, B. J., & Ladd, G. W. (1996). Peer victimization: Cause or consequence of school maladjustment? Child Development, 67, 1305–1317.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kochenderfer, B. J., & Ladd, G. W. (1997). Victimized children’s responses to peers’ aggression: Behaviors associated with reduced versus continued victimization. Development and Psychopathology, 9, 59–73.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ladd, G. W., Kochenderfer, B. J., & Coleman, C. C. (1997). Classroom peer acceptance, friendship, and victimization: Distinct relational systems that contribute uniquely to children’s school adjustment? Child Development, 68, 1181–1197.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Landau, S., Milich, R., & Diener, M. B. (1998). Peer relations of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Reading and Writing Quarterly: Overcoming Learning Difficulties, 14, 83–105.

    Google Scholar 

  • McClelland, G. H., & Judd, C. M. (1993). Statistical difficulties of detecting interactions and moderator effects. Psychological Bulletin, 114, 376–390.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Melnick, S. M., & Hinshaw, S. P. (1996). What they want and what they get: The social goals of boys with ADHD and comparison boys. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 24, 169–185.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Mrug, S., Hoza, B., & Gerdes, A. C. (2001). Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: Peer relationships and peer-oriented interventions. In D. Nangle & C. Erdley (Eds.), The role of friendship in psychological adjustment. New directions for child and adolescent development (pp. 51–77). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Olweus, D. (1978). Aggression in the schools: Bullies and whipping boys. Washington: Hemisphere.

    Google Scholar 

  • Olweus, D. (1992). Victimization by peers: Antecedents and long-term outcomes. In K. H. Rubin & J. B. Asendorpf (Eds.), Social withdrawal, inhibition, and shyness in childhood (pp. 315–341). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Parker, J. G., & Asher, S. R. (1993). Friendship and friendship quality in middle childhood: Links with peer group acceptance and feelings of loneliness and social dissatisfaction. Developmental Psychology, 29, 611–621.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pellegrini, A. D., Bartini, M., & Brooks, F. (1999). School bullies, victims, and aggressive victims: Factors relating to group affiliation and victimization in early adolescence. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 216–224.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Perren, S., & Alsaker, F. D. (2006). Social behavior and peer relationships of victims, bully-victims, and bullies in kindergarten. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47, 45–57.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Perry, D. G., Kusel, S. J., & Perry, L. C. (1988). Victims of peer aggression. Developmental Psychology, 24, 807–814.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pizzamiglio, M. T., Bukowski, W. M., Hoza, B. (1997, April). Mutual friendship as a mediator of the association between children’s popularity and self-reported feelings of competence. In M. Boivin (Chair), Individual, group, and dyad: Interactions between levels of complexity in the peer system. Symposium presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Washington, DC

  • Poulin, F., Dishion, T. J., & Burraston, B. (2001). 3-Year iatrogenic effects associated with aggregating high-risk adolescents in cognitive-behavioral preventive interventions. Applied Developmental Science, 5, 214–224.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Poulin, F., Dishion, T. J., Haas, E. (1999). The peer influence paradox: Friendship quality and deviance training within male adolescent friendships. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Journal of Developmental Psychology. Special Issue: Peer influences in childhood and adolescence, 45, 42–61

  • Sanderson, J. A., & Siegal, M. (1995). Loneliness and stable friendship in rejected and nonrejected preschoolers. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 16, 555–567.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Scholte, R. H. J., Overbeek, G., ten Brink, G., Rommes, E., de Kemp, R. A. T., Goossens, L., et al. (2009). The significance of reciprocal and unilateral friendships for peer victimization in adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 38, 89–100.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Schwartz, D., Proctor, L. J., & Chien, D. H. (2001). The aggressive victim of bullying: Emotional and behavioral dysregulation as a pathway to victimization by peers. In J. Juvonen & S. Graham (Eds.), Peer harassment in school: The plight of the vulnerable and victimized (pp. 47–174). New York: Guilford.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shaffer, D., Fisher, P., Lucas, C. P., Dulcan, M. K., & Schwab-Stone, M. E. (2000). NIMH diagnostic interview schedule for children version IV (NIMH DISC-IV): Description, differences from previous versions, to reliability of some common diagnoses. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 39, 28–38.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Sullivan, H. S. (1953). The interpersonal theory of psychiatry. New York: W W Norton & Co.

    Google Scholar 

  • Swanson, J. M. (1992). School-based assessments and intervention for ADD students. Irvine: K.C. Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wechsler, D. (1991). Wechsler intelligence scale for children-third edition. San Antonio: The Psychological Corporation.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wiener, J., & Mak, M. (2009). Peer victimization in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Psychology in the Schools, 46, 116–131.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Stephanie L. Cardoos.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Cardoos, S.L., Hinshaw, S.P. Friendship as Protection from Peer Victimization for Girls with and without ADHD. J Abnorm Child Psychol 39, 1035–1045 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-011-9517-3

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-011-9517-3

Keywords

  • ADHD
  • Friendship
  • Peers
  • Protection
  • Victimization