Loneliness and Social Support in Adolescent Boys with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in a Special Education Setting
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Social difficulties have been suggested to exacerbate the risk of loneliness. The social difficulties in social relations often reported for adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) could be a risk for increased loneliness in adolescents with ADHD. However, current studies of the risk of loneliness in persons with ADHD are limited and their results are mixed. Especially the adolescent age group is poorly investigated and has not been studied as a separate group. In this study we investigate the experience of loneliness and social support in adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in a special educational setting. Twenty-five adolescent boys with clinically diagnosed ADHD filled out self-report measures of loneliness, difficulties in making friends, and social support. The boys with ADHD were compared with 199 adolescent boys from regular schools. No difference in the degree of loneliness was found even if more adolescents with ADHD reported difficulties in making friends. These difficulties were related to loneliness in the control group, but not in the ADHD group. Social support from classmates and peers reduced the degree of loneliness in the ADHD group. Adolescent boys with ADHD in a special educational setting do not seem to be at a higher risk of loneliness in adolescence.
KeywordsADHD Adolescents Loneliness Social support Special education
The authors thank the participating schools, teachers, and students. The authors also thank Annette Nielsen, Signe Sofie Nielsen and Katrine Dinitzen for assistance with data collection and data management.
ME and ML collaborated on the design, execution of the study. ML was lead on the following data analyses and ME was lead on the writing of the paper but both collaborated in the process.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
All procedures in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study as from their legal custodians.
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