Executive Function and Rejection Reactivity: Correlates of Kindergarten Adjustment Difficulties Among Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Open Access
Author:
Motamedi, Mojdeh
Graduate Program:
Psychology
Degree:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
September 16, 2013
Committee Members:
  • Karen Linn Bierman, Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • executive function
  • emotion
  • EF
  • aggression
  • social
  • withdrawal
  • Rejection
  • Reactivity
  • inattention
  • hyperactive
  • adhd
  • affect
Abstract:
Affective processing of social information and executive function skills appear important to the school adjustment of children with ADHD, but have rarely been studied conjunctly. The present study examined the role of the intensity of children’s emotional reactions to being rejected and executive function (EF) skills as correlates of social behavior problems (aggression, social withdrawal) and academic problems common in children with ADHD, as well as how these problems varied by the number of ADHD symptoms (hyperactivity/impulsivity, inattention). Participants included 133 children with clinical or subclinical levels of ADHD at the beginning of their kindergarten year (73% European American, 11% African American, 4% Latino, 11% multiracial, 2% other; 65% male, Mage = 5.2 years). Hyperactivity/impulsivity was associated with heightened rejection reactivity and greater aggression. In structural equation models, rejection reactivity mediated the association between hyperactivity/impulsivity and aggression. Inattention was uniquely associated with poor EF, increased social withdrawal, and greater aggression. In structural equation models, EF marginally mediated the association between inattention and social withdrawal, and fully mediated the association between inattention and academic achievement. Clinical implications and future directions are discussed.