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.
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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).
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.
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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