Award Date

8-1-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Committee Member

Daniel N. Allen

Second Committee Member

Michelle Paul

Third Committee Member

Andrew Freeman

Fourth Committee Member

Merrill Landers

Number of Pages

139

Abstract

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder, which impacts behavioral outcomes, including social functioning. Children with ADHD demonstrate impairment across a number of social domains, including aggressive behavior, poor social skills, and higher rates of Oppositional Defiant Disorder compared to typically developing peers. However, the underlying neurocognitive underpinnings of these poor social outcomes are unclear. Furthermore, little is known regarding the impact of ADHD symptomatology on aspects of social cognition. Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity may differentially impact components of social cognition. Determining whether performance on social cognition tasks is predictive of social skills and problem behaviors is also an area with limited research. Therefore, the current study investigated the relationship between behavioral outcomes, social cognition, and ADHD symptomatology. Children with ADHD performed significantly poorer than the control group on measures of affect recognition, pragmatic language, cognitive theory of mind (ToM), and cognitive empathy. Inattention was predictive of performance in these domains, but there was little improvement of the model with the addition of hyperactivity and impulsivity. Pragmatic language, cognitive ToM, and cognitive empathy were predictive of parent ratings of problem and prosocial behaviors. Findings indicate that children with ADHD have difficulty with cognitive, but not affective components of social cognition.

Keywords

ADHD; Social Cognition

Disciplines

Clinical Psychology

Language

English


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