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The Romantic Relationships of Adolescents With ADHD


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Objective: This study compared the romantic relationships of adolescents with and without ADHD with regard to romantic involvement, relationship content, and relationship quality. Method: A community sample of 58 participants (30 ADHD, 28 Comparison), ages 13 to 18, completed questionnaires assessing various features of romantic relationships. Results: Adolescents with ADHD reported having more romantic partners than their typically developing (TD) peers. Females with ADHD were found to have shorter romantic relationships than TD adolescents while males with ADHD reported their age of first intercourse to be nearly 2 years sooner than TD peers. Irrespective of gender, adolescents with ADHD had nearly double the number of lifetime sexual partners. However, the romantic relationships of adolescents with and without ADHD did not differ on levels of aggression or relationship quality. Conclusion: Given the outcomes associated with poor-quality romantic relationships, comprehensive assessments of adolescents with ADHD should include queries into their romantic relationships.
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Journal of Attention Disorders
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DOI: 10.1177/1087054714538660
The overall purpose of the present study is to explore the
romantic relationships of adolescents with ADHD.
Romantic relationships are a hallmark of adolescence
(Collins, Welsh, & Furman, 2009). By late adolescence,
more than 70% of teens have been involved in at least one
romantic relationship (Carver, Joyner, & Udry, 2003;
Furman, Low, & Ho, 2009) and rely primarily on their
romantic partner, rather than their peer group, for support
(Kuttler & La Greca, 2004). Romance is also at the fore-
front of adolescents’ minds; they spend between 5 and 8 hr
each week thinking about actual or potential romantic part-
ners (Richards, Crowe, Larson, & Swarr, 1998). These pro-
portions are considerably larger than those attributed to
school, peers, and family (Brown, 1999). Until recently,
however, adolescent romance had not garnered much inter-
est from the scientific community.
Currently, empirical studies of romantic relationships in
adolescence are burgeoning. No longer are these relation-
ships erroneously viewed as trivial and ephemeral. Instead,
they are increasingly regarded as a significant factor in ado-
lescent development and subsequent adult functioning
(Giordano, Manning, & Longmore, 2006). Healthy roman-
tic relationships may buffer negative outcomes and are
associated with several positive aspects of development,
including forming a personal identity, promoting harmoni-
ous relationships with peers, adjusting to changes in family
relationships, shaping positive romantic relationships in
adulthood, and lowered levels of adult psychopathology
(e.g., Furman & Collins, 2008; Wolfe, Jaffe, & Crooks,
2006). Poor-quality romantic relationships, however, have
been linked with alcohol and drug use, exposure to violence
in relationships, increases in externalizing and internalizing
symptomatology, academic underachievement, and an
inadequate rubric for adult relationships (e.g., Woodward,
Fergusson, & Horwood, 2002; Zimmer-Gembeck,
Siebenbruner, & Collins, 2004). While the last decade has
seen a marked increase in the number of studies examining
the romantic relationships of typically developing (TD)
adolescents, less is known about the nature of romantic
relationships in adolescents with various psychopathologies
such as ADHD.
When compared with other youth, the presence of
ADHD in childhood and adolescence is associated with dis-
turbances in family functioning, peer rejection, and lower
quality friendships (e.g., Bagwell, Molina, Pelham, & Hoza,
2001; Johnston & Mash, 2001; Wehmeier, Schacht, &
Barkley, 2010). Moreover, adolescent experiences
538660JADXXX10.1177/1087054714538660Journal of Attention DisordersRokeach and Wiener
1University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Corresponding Author:
Alan Rokeach, Applied Psychology and Human Development, Ontario
Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, 252 Bloor
Street West, 9-272, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1V6.
The Romantic Relationships of
Adolescents With ADHD
Alan Rokeach1 and Judith Wiener1
Objective: This study compared the romantic relationships of adolescents with and without ADHD with regard to
romantic involvement, relationship content, and relationship quality. Method: A community sample of 58 participants (30
ADHD, 28 Comparison), ages 13 to 18, completed questionnaires assessing various features of romantic relationships.
Results: Adolescents with ADHD reported having more romantic partners than their typically developing (TD) peers.
Females with ADHD were found to have shorter romantic relationships than TD adolescents while males with ADHD
reported their age of first intercourse to be nearly 2 years sooner than TD peers. Irrespective of gender, adolescents
with ADHD had nearly double the number of lifetime sexual partners. However, the romantic relationships of adolescents
with and without ADHD did not differ on levels of aggression or relationship quality. Conclusion: Given the outcomes
associated with poor-quality romantic relationships, comprehensive assessments of adolescents with ADHD should include
queries into their romantic relationships. (J. of Att. Dis. XXXX; XX(X) XX-XX)
adolescent ADHD, romantic relationships, risky behavior
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2 Journal of Attention Disorders
with parents and peers are important precursors of romantic
relationship quality in young adulthood (Connolly, Furman,
& Konarski, 2000; Seiffge-Krenke, 2003). Individuals with
ADHD tend be forgetful, disorganized, distracted, and fail
to meet their responsibilities. In addition, they may be more
impulsive, explosive, and more likely to have verbal and
physical outbursts than their TD peers (Barkley, 2006). It is
therefore not unreasonable to expect that such characteris-
tics and behaviors may detrimentally affect their romantic
relationships. Nevertheless, the link between romantic rela-
tionships and individuals with ADHD has received little
empirical attention to date and even less is known about the
romantic relationships of adolescents with ADHD.
The study of romantic relationships in adolescence has
been hindered by a number of methodological challenges,
including operational definitions, obtaining representative
samples, and identifying the relevant dimensions of varia-
tion in romantic relationships (Collins et al., 2009). To facil-
itate assessments of romantic relationships, Collins (2003)
identified several features that characterize romantic rela-
tionships in adolescence: romantic involvement, partner
identity, relationship content, relationship quality, and cog-
nitive and emotional processes in the relationship. The
present study entails a comparison of adolescents with and
without ADHD on three of these features: romantic involve-
ment, relationship content, and relationship quality.
Romantic Involvement
Romantic involvement refers to whether or not a person
dates, the frequency and regularity of their dating, and the
duration of their relationships (Collins, 2003; Collins et al.,
2009). The timing of the initiation of dating is important
because early dating is closely associated with early sexual
initiation (Cooksey, Mott, & Neubauer, 2002), which in
turn is correlated with risky sexual behavior (RSB), depres-
sion, violence, academic underachievement, and substance
use (Crockett, Bingham, Chopak, & Vicar, 1996).
There is some evidence that the romantic involvement of
young adults with ADHD differs from typically functioning
adults. Canu and Carlson (2003) found that college students
with the inattentive subtype (ADHD-I) achieved dating
milestones later and had a lower number of steady dating
relationships, than both college students with the combined
subtype (ADHD-C) and healthy college students. Similarly,
Babinski et al. (2011) reported that when compared with
typically functioning peers, girls diagnosed with ADHD in
childhood experienced fewer romantic relationships in late
adolescence and young adulthood.
Relationship Content
Relationship content refers to the shared activities of rela-
tionship partners (Collins, 2003; Collins et al., 2009).
Adolescents in romantic relationships engage in patterns of
interaction that differ from interactions with parents or
peers. Two aspects of relationship content that have gar-
nered considerable attention are sexual behavior and aggres-
sion between partners. Although many adolescent couples
are in healthy and supportive relationships, physical aggres-
sion occurs in a sizeable proportion of adolescent romantic
relationships. Estimates vary widely across samples (e.g.,
national vs. regional surveys) and assessment methods
(one-time retrospective vs. cumulative), but roughly 10% to
48% of adolescents experience physical aggression and
25% to 50% endure psychological aggression in their dat-
ing relationships (Halpern, Oslak, Young, Martin, &
Kupper, 2001; Jouriles, McDonald, Garrido, Rosenfield, &
Brown, 2005). Young adults with ADHD have been found
to resort to more frequent negative conflict resolution pat-
terns (Canu & Carlson, 2007; Overbey, Snell, & Callis,
2011) and to be more verbally aggressive and violent in
their romantic relationships (Wymbs et al., 2012) than
young adults without ADHD.
Existing research on the sexual behavior of individuals
with ADHD focuses on young adults and exposes some
alarming tendencies. When compared with age-matched
peers, young adults with ADHD are at an increased risk for
unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections
(STIs), earlier initiation of sexual activity, and a greater fre-
quency of casual sex and sexual partners (Barkley, Murphy,
& Fischer, 2010; Flory, Molina, Pelham, Gnagy, & Smith,
2006; Huggins, Rooney, & Chronis-Tuscano, 2012; White
& Buehler, 2012; Winters, Botzet, Fahnhorst, Baumel, &
Lee, 2008). Such RSB has been linked to sexual victimiza-
tion in both the general population (Fargo, 2009) and in ado-
lescents with ADHD (White & Buehler, 2012). Other
studies, however, have found no significant associations
between ADHD symptomatology and RSB when co-occur-
ring conduct disorder (CD) is taken into account (Monuteaux,
Faraone, Gross, & Biederman, 2007; Ramrakha et al., 2007).
Mixed results also exist with respect to antisocial sexual
activities (e.g., forced sex) among adults diagnosed with
ADHD in childhood. Mandell (1999) and Theriault and
Holmberg (2001) found ADHD symptomatology and CD to
be small but significant predictors of both physical and sex-
ual aggression; however, Barkley, Fischer, Smallish, and
Fletcher (2004) did not find any such association. Although
these inconsistent findings appear puzzling, they most likely
reflect methodological variability across studies, such as dif-
fering sample characteristics (e.g., gender, population-based
vs. clinic-referred) and assessment methods (e.g., structured
interviews, self-report).
Relationship Quality
Relationship quality refers to the manifestation of affection
and nurturance to create generally beneficial experiences
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Rokeach and Wiener 3
(Collins, 2003; Collins et al., 2009). Evidence suggests that
the skills necessary for establishing and maintaining friend-
ships in childhood serve as the building blocks for estab-
lishing high-quality romantic relationships later in life
(Collins, Hennighausen, Schmit, & Sroufe, 1997).
Furthermore, the quality of peer and family relationships
early in life significantly predicts the quality of ensuing
romantic relationships (Collins & Van Dulmen, 2006;
Roisman, Booth-LaForce, Cauffman, & Spieker, 2009).
Low-quality relationships are marked by irritation, control-
ling behavior, antagonism, high levels of discord, and an
imbalance between conflict and support (Galliher, Welsh,
Rostosky, & Kawaguchi, 2004). High-quality relationships,
however, are associated with a high level of commitment,
feeling appreciated, good communication, and being
attracted to the partner (Levesque, 1993). Although interac-
tions with romantic partners involve more conflict than
with friends and less responsiveness and communication
than with mothers, adolescents perceive themselves as
receiving more support from their partners (Furman &
Shomaker, 2008).
To date, the quality of romantic relationships of individ-
uals with ADHD has only been studied in adults. Spouses of
adults with ADHD, who themselves are not diagnosed with
ADHD, report feeling resentful and overwhelmed due to
inadequate emotional support and an unequal distribution
of household tasks pertaining to planning, organizing,
financial decisions, and maintaining family harmony (Robin
& Payson, 2002; Weiss, Weiss, & Trokenberg-Hechtman,
1999). Thus, it not surprising that, when compared with
controls, ADHD status is associated with lower relationship
satisfaction and a higher incidence of divorce (Biederman
et al., 1993; Murphy & Barkley, 1996).
Rationale and Purpose of the Current
Collectively, the findings described above paint a bleak pic-
ture of romantic relationships in individuals with ADHD,
with most of the existing research involving adult current or
retrospective report. Adolescence, however, represents a
period of flexible change and somewhat of a blank slate for
individuals who have yet to experience a romantic relation-
ship. Hence, it is evident that an additional emphasis should
be placed on the exploration of adolescent relationships, as
they represent the foundation for romantic relationships
throughout the life span (Collins & Sroufe, 1999).
The major purpose of present study was to compare the
romantic relationships of adolescents with and without
ADHD on the following three relationship features: (a)
romantic involvement, (b) relationship content, and (c) rela-
tionship quality. With regard to romantic involvement,
based on previous studies (Babinski et al., 2011; Canu &
Carlson, 2003), it was expected that adolescents with ADHD
would commence dating later and have fewer and shorter-
lasting relationships than their TD peers. In spite of com-
mencing dating later in life, it was anticipated that the
increased impulsivity of adolescents with ADHD may lead
them to engage in sexual activity at a younger age and with
more partners outside the context of an ongoing romantic
relationship, than teens without ADHD. Based on previous
research on adults with ADHD (e.g., Barkley et al., 2010;
Canu et al., 2007; Flory et al., 2006; Overbey et al., 2011;
Wymbs et al., 2012), differences between adolescents with
and without ADHD were anticipated on measures of rela-
tionship content and quality. When in relationships, it was
predicted that adolescents with ADHD would report higher
levels of dissatisfaction, conflict, and aggressive behaviors
(verbal, relational, sexual, physical), and lower levels of
affection and nurturance than TD adolescents. Finally, it
was also expected that adolescents with ADHD would
report higher levels of RSB (e.g., unprotected sex, unwanted
pregnancies, promiscuity, intercourse while using drugs or
alcohol, and STIs) than TD adolescents.
A community sample of 30, 13- to 18-year-old adolescents
with ADHD (40% female [n = 12]; Mage = 15.71, SD = 1.49)
and 28 TD peers (57% female [n = 16]; Mage = 16.0, SD =
1.68) were recruited by distributing flyers to a select num-
ber of schools in the Greater Toronto Area (n = 2), chil-
dren’s mental health centers (n = 9), family doctors and
psychologists (n = 3), advertisements in newspapers (n = 2),
and phoning research participants from previous studies
who had consented to be contacted regarding future studies
(n = 42). Flyers informed participants that they would be
filling out questionnaires about their peer, family, and
romantic relationships. All participants were in Grades 7
through 12 with average intellectual ability (IQ 85) as
assessed by the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence
(WASI; Wechsler, 1999). Eligibility criteria for the ADHD
sample included (a) a parent-report of a previous diagnosis
of ADHD from a physician or psychologist, based on
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th
ed.; text rev.; DSM-IV-TR; American Psychiatric
Association, 2000) criteria; and (b) at least one clinically
significant score (T 70) on the DSM-IV-TR ADHD scales
of the parent form of the Conners–3rd Edition (Conners,
2008); or (c) at least one borderline range score (T = 65-69)
on the DSM-IV-TR ADHD scales of the parent form of the
Conners, and at least one score on the same scales by
another informant (self-report or teacher) in the borderline
or clinical range (T 65). TD adolescents required scores
on the Conners’ parent scales within the average range (T
60). While adolescents with co-occurring learning disabilities
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4 Journal of Attention Disorders
(LDs), CD, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), anxiety, or
depression were included in the sample, participants with
Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Psychotic Disorders,
Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and
Tourette’s Syndrome were excluded.
Among the ADHD sample, 17 (57%) adolescents regu-
larly took stimulant medication. Significantly more ado-
lescents with ADHD (81%) had one or more
parent-reported comorbid diagnoses compared with their
TD (10%) peers, χ2(1, N = 58) = 23.59, p < .001. Within
the ADHD group, 19 adolescents were diagnosed with a
comorbid LD, 3 with Anxiety, 2 with Depression, 1 with
Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and none with CD. Within
the comparison group, three participants were diagnosed
with an LD.
As shown in Table 1, t tests revealed no significant
group differences on age, IQ, or years of parental educa-
tion. Furthermore, chi-square tests revealed no signifi-
cant groups differences on gender, χ2(1, N = 58) = 2.00,
p = .16; parental marital status, χ2(1, N = 58) = .01,
p = .94; or proportion of families where a language other
than English was spoken at home, χ2(1, N = 58) = 1.22,
p = .27. As expected, participants with ADHD had sig-
nificantly higher scores on variables measuring current
manifestation of inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive
symptoms (parent, teacher, and self-reports). However,
ratings of conduct problems were mixed. Whereas par-
ents of adolescents with ADHD rated their children as
having significantly more conduct problems than did
parents of TD adolescents, teacher and self-reports indi-
cated no differences in conduct problems for the subsam-
ple of participants with romantic experience (see DSM
CD, Table 1).
Sample definition and description. The Conners’ Rating
Scale–3rd Edition (Conners, 2008) Parent, Teacher, and
youth Self-Report long-forms were used to confirm current
manifestation of ADHD symptoms. The Conners is a well-
validated standardized measure consisting of 99 to 115
items on a 4-point Likert scale from 0 (not at all/seldom,
never) to 3 (very much true/very often, very frequent). Inter-
nal consistency coefficients are high, .90 or above for Par-
ent and Teacher scales, and .85 or above for self-report
scales (Conners, 2008). Test–retest reliability ranges from
.82 to .98 (Parents), .83 to .90 (Teacher), and .71 to .83
(Self-Report; Conners, 2008).
Cognitive ability was assessed using the WASI
(Wechsler, 1999), an individually administered, brief test of
intelligence. This abbreviated IQ scale demonstrates solid
psychometric properties with high internal consistency
(.93), test–retest reliability (ranging from .88 to .93), and
concurrent and construct validity (Wechsler, 1999).
Romantic relationships. The Health and Sexual Behaviors
Questionnaire (HSBQ; Flory et al., 2006) was used to obtain
a history of participants’ romantic involvement and assess
their engagement in potentially RSB. Items included ques-
tions pertaining to age of first sexual experience and inter-
course, promiscuity, frequency of casual sex, use of reliable
contraception and STIs prevention methods, and unwanted
pregnancies. To minimize discomfort, the romantic rela-
tionships measures were branched such that answering “no”
to questions pertaining to previous involvement in romantic
relationships and intercourse precluded participants from
answering more in-depth questions. Thus, participants were
first asked if they had ever kissed someone. Next they were
asked if they had ever had sexual relations (more than kiss-
ing, but not intercourse). Finally, participants were asked if
they had ever had sexual intercourse. Participants’ responses
to this last question formed the basis for the variable “sex-
ual partners.” Most items were dichotomized to be consis-
tent with cut-offs for RSB used in other studies (Flory et al.,
2006; Grunbaum et al., 2004).
The Networks of Relationships Inventory–Behavioral
Systems Version (NRI-BSV; Furman & Buhrmester, 2009)
is based on an integration of attachment theory and
Sullivanian theory. It assesses how frequently different rela-
tionships (e.g., mother, father, romantic partner, same-sex
friend) are used to “fulfill the functions of three behavioral
systems: attachment, caregiving, and affiliation” (Furman &
Buhrmester, 2009). It is a 24-item survey, with 3 items per
scale, rated on a 5-point scale from 1 (little or none) to 5 (the
most). It assesses five support features (Provides Secure
Base, Seeks Secure Base, Provides Safe Haven, Seeks Safe
Haven, Companionship) and three negative interactions
(Conflict, Antagonism, Criticism). Two second-order factors
Table 1. Sample Characteristics and Demographics.
ADHD Comparison
Variable n M (SD)N M (SD)df t
Age 30 15.71 (1.49) 28 16.00 (1.68) 56 0.71
IQ 30 108.17 (12.08) 28 109.04 (8.52) 56 0.31
Parental education
17 15.89 (2.52) 18 16.47 (2.60) 33 0.67
Conners’ parent
DSM inattention 30 79.26 (9.57) 28 48.79 (6.21) 56 14.34***
DSM hyperactivity 30 78.84 (11.49) 28 48.29 (5.68) 56 12.73***
DSM conduct 30 59.88(13.87) 28 47.39 (4.5) 56 4.79***
Conners’ teacher
DSM inattention 20 62.50 (14.57) 21 51.76 (12.00) 39 2.58*
DSM hyperactivity 20 63.20 (16.78) 21 51.48 (13.84) 39 2.57*
DSM conduct 19 54.84 (13.60) 20 50.60 (11.92) 37 1.04
Conners’ self-report
DSM inattention 30 62.67 (10.77) 28 54.36 (10.17) 56 3.02**
DSM hyperactivity 30 62.30 (11.73) 28 52.39 (10.55) 56 3.37***
DSM conduct 30 55.56 (11.55) 28 50.75 (9.13) 56 1.77
Note. DSM = Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
*p < .05. **p < .01. ***p < .001.
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Rokeach and Wiener 5
are computed by averaging the five support and three nega-
tive interactions scales. For the purposes of this study, only
responses pertaining to the participants’ romantic partner
were explored. The NRI-BSV has strong internal consis-
tency relating to romantic partners with alphas ranging from
.75 to .92. For this particular sample, internal consistency
was also strong, with alphas ranging from .82 to .95.
The Conflict in Adolescent Dating Relationships
Inventory (CADRI; Wolfe et al., 2001) is a 35-item self-
report scale assessing abusive behavior among adolescent
dating partners on five primary factors (Sexual Abuse,
Threatening Behavior, Verbal or Emotional Abuse,
Relational Abuse, and Physical Abuse). An Overall Abuse
factor is generated by summing all 25 items pertaining to
abuse (range = 25-100), whereas a Restricted Abuse factor
is derived by summing all items from the Threatening
Behavior, Verbal or Emotional Abuse, and Physical Abuse
factors (range = 18-72). The remaining 10 items on the
CADRI assess conflict resolution within the couple.
Participants with and without ADHD were compared on the
Overall Abuse Factor (perpetrated and incurred), the five
primary factors, and the Conflict Resolution scale within
the couple.
The CADRI is scored on a scale of 1 to 4 (from never to
often) with higher scores indicating greater levels of abuse.
The CADRI has fair internal consistency with alphas in the
mid ’80s for Verbal, Physical, and Overall abuse, and .51 to
.66 for the remaining scales. With the exception of Sexual
Abuse (.28), the remaining scales of the CADRI have
acceptable test–retest reliability ranging from .58 to .72. For
this particular sample, internal consistency was also fair,
with alphas ranging from .83 to .89 for Conflict Resolution
and Verbal and Emotional, and Overall abuse, and.47 to .63
for the remaining scales.
Institutional ethic’s board approval was obtained from the
University of Toronto (protocol reference #25468) and all
participants and their parents provided informed written
consent prior to the start of the study. During an initial
phone screening, parents of participants provided demo-
graphic information about their child and family, completed
the Conners–Parent long form, and consented to having
their child’s teacher fill out the Conners–Teacher long form.
On the day of testing, researchers assisted participants in
completing an individually administered battery of stan-
dardized tests and self-report measures that were part of a
large-scale study assessing the peer and family relation-
ships of adolescents with ADHD. Researchers were gradu-
ate students in school and clinical child psychology with
considerable training in psychological testing. Participants
were given the choice of receiving $30 as compensation for
their time (approximately 4 hr) and travel expenses incurred,
or receiving a volunteer community service certificate doc-
umenting time spent participating in the study. In addition,
participants were provided with an educational report
detailing their cognitive, academic, and socio-emotional
Data Analyses
Statistical analyses were conducted using the Statistical
Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20.
Descriptive statistics were calculated for the demographic
characteristics (e.g., age, gender, IQ, parental marital status,
parental education, language spoken at home) of the ADHD
and comparison groups separately. Data points of variables
with SDs larger than 3 were adjusted using the winsorizing
method. Statistical assumptions checking for homogeneity
of variance and normality of the outcome variables were
met. If t tests revealed gender differences on outcome vari-
ables, gender and group status were included as fixed fac-
tors in subsequent 2 × 2 ANOVAs. Partial η2 values were
computed to ascertain effect size and determine clinically
meaningful differences. According to Vacha-Haase and
Thompson (2004), η2 .01 constitutes a small effect, η2 >
.09 corresponds to a medium effect, and η2 > .25 represents
a large effect. To minimize the possibility of type I error,
overarching scales were first examined, and only when sig-
nificant differences existed were the results of item-level
differences reported.
History of Romantic Involvement
As shown in Table 2, adolescents with ADHD reported hav-
ing more romantic partners than their TD counterparts,
F(1, 53) = 5.18, p = .03, η2 = .09. Males reported beginning
dating at a younger age than females, F(1, 53) = 3.79, p =
.05, η2 = .07; there was no group main effect nor Group ×
Gender interaction effect on age of onset of dating. Females
with ADHD had shorter romantic relationships than their
TD counterparts, whereas males with and without ADHD
reported equally short relationships across groups,
F(1, 53) = 5.53, p = .02, η2 = .10. A significant interaction
effect also indicated that males with ADHD reported a
younger age of first intercourse than their TD male counter-
parts, while females with and without ADHD reported their
first intercourse to occur at approximately the same age,
F(1, 17) = 4.41, p = .05, η2 = .21.
Relationship Content and Quality
As reported on the HSBQ, when compared with their TD
peers, adolescents with ADHD were significantly more
likely to have had multiple sex partners in their lifetime
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6 Journal of Attention Disorders
(defined as four or more), and to have had casual sex within
the past year (Table 3). While adolescents with and without
ADHD did not differ in terms of other high-risk sexual
behavior, both adolescent groups showed alarming rates for
the frequency of intercourse while under the influence of
drugs/alcohol, and irregular use of a combination of reliable
contraception and STI prevention methods.
Adolescents with and without ADHD did not differ on
the Overall Abuse factor of the CADRI (Sexual Abuse,
Threatening Behavior, Verbal or Emotional Abuse,
Relational Abuse, and Physical Abuse), assessing abuse per-
petrated by the participant, F(1, 41) = 1.59, p = .22, η2 = .04,
or incurred by the participant, F(1, 41) = .03, p = .86,
η2 = .00. Nor did they differ on the frequency of more adap-
tive, conflict resolution, patterns of behavior, F(1, 41) = .05,
p = .82, η2 = .00. Similarly, adolescents with and without
ADHD did not differ on the Social Support, F(1, 40) = .16,
p = .69, η2 = .00, or Negative Interactions (Conflict,
Antagonism, Criticism), F(1, 40) = 1.14, p = .29, η2 = .03,
factors of the NRI-BSV.
The current study set out to compare the romantic relation-
ships of adolescents with and without ADHD on three fea-
tures of romantic relationships: romantic involvement,
relationship content, and relationship quality. Adolescents
with ADHD were found to have significantly more roman-
tic partners than their TD peers, and in particular, female
adolescents with ADHD were found to have shorter roman-
tic relationships than their TD counterparts. In addition,
males with ADHD reported their age of first intercourse to
be nearly 2 years prior to males without ADHD, and adoles-
cents with ADHD, irrespective of gender, had nearly double
the number of lifetime sexual partners than TD adolescents.
However, in the current study, adolescents with and without
ADHD did not differ on measures assessing the quality of
their romantic relationships or the levels of aggression per-
petrated or incurred.
Romantic Involvement
Nearly identical proportions of males and females with and
without ADHD reported experiencing a romantic relation-
ship in their lifetime. Adolescents with ADHD had more
romantic partners than their TD peers, but, similar to the
findings of Canu and Carlson (2003) regarding college stu-
dents with ADHD−Combined Type, adolescents with and
without ADHD did not differ on their age of entry into
romantic relationships. Although Babinski et al. (2011)
found that college students with ADHD have a lower num-
ber of romantic partners than TD students, only female stu-
dents were included in their sample whereas in the present
study the majority of students with ADHD were male. As
predicted, differences also emerged in terms of duration of
romantic relationships; females with ADHD reported
shorter romantic relationships than their TD counterparts,
whereas males with and without ADHD reported relation-
ships of similar lengths. These results suggest that the defi-
cits in social skills, excessive negative behavior, and poor
social information processing present in girls with ADHD
(Crick & Dodge, 1994; Hoza, Waschbusch, Pelham, Molina,
Table 2. Romantic Involvement of Adolescents With and Without ADHD by Gender.
ADHD Comparison
Group Gender Group × GenderMale Female Male Female
n M (SD)n M (SD)n M (SD)n M (SD)Fη2Fη2Fη2
Number of RRb18 3.50 (2.23) 12 2.33 (1.50) 11 2.09 (1.38) 16 1.75 (0.86) 5.18* .09 2.96 .05 0.89 .02
Age of 1st RR
18 13.11 (1.63) 12 14.36 (1.50) 11 13.55 (1.37) 16 13.81 (1.17) 0.02 .00 3.79* .07 1.60 .03
Longest RR
18 8.75 (9.16) 12 6.33 (6.64) 11 5.82 (5.42) 16 14.88 (11.87) 1.32 .02 1.85 .03 5.53* .10
Age of more than
14 14.29 (1.68) 6 15.17 (0.75) 6 14.17 (2.14) 11 14.91 (1.30) 0.12 .00 2.21 .06 0.02 .00
Age of 1st sexual
6 14.50 (1.76) 4 15.50 (0.58) 5 16.40 (0.55) 6 15.33 (0.82) 3.10 .15 0.01 .00 4.41* .21
Number of sexual
6 4.00 (3.69) 4 4.50 (3.87) 5 1.60 (0.55) 6 2.00 (1.10) 4.34* .20 0.15 .01 0.00 .00
aRange for number of romantic relationships (1-8); age of 1st RR (9-18), longest RR (months; 1-36); age of more than kissing (11-17); age of 1st sexual
intercourse (12-17); number of sexual partners (1-10).
bRR: romantic relationships.
*p < .05.
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Rokeach and Wiener 7
& Milich, 2000), may not only affect the stability of the
friendships they form (Bagwell et al., 2001; Blachman &
Hinshaw, 2002), but also their romantic relationships.
Boys with ADHD reported their first intercourse to be
nearly 2 years sooner than their TD counterparts and a year
earlier than girls with ADHD, who did not differ from TD
girls. Furthermore, when compared with TD adolescents, ado-
lescents with ADHD had nearly double the number of lifetime
sexual partners. These findings have important implications
because sexual precociousness and exposure to multiple sex
partners early in adolescence are associated with HIV infec-
tions (Overby & Kegeles, 1994) and a host of other negative
outcomes including depression, academic underachievement,
substance use, and further RSB (Crockett et al., 1996).
Relationship Content
Like other studies examining the sexual behavior of young
adults with ADHD (Barkley et al., 2010; Flory et al., 2006;
Huggins et al., 2012; White & Buehler, 2012; Winters et al.,
2008), when compared with their TD peers, adolescents
with ADHD were significantly more likely to have had mul-
tiple sex partners in their lifetime (defined as four or more)
and to have had casual sex within the past 12 months.
Despite the sample’s young age, these high proportions of
promiscuity are disconcerting, and a risk factor for subse-
quent internalizing and externalizing psychopathology.
Unlike findings from previous research (Barkley et al.,
2010; Flory et al., 2006), in the current study, participants
with ADHD were not more likely than their TD peers to
have contracted an STI or become unintentionally pregnant.
Discrepant results may be partially explained by the small
sample size and younger age of the current sample relative
to other studies. More specifically, adolescents may have
thus far been fortunate enough to escape further ramifica-
tions of their RSB, in spite of their irregular use of a combi-
nation of reliable contraception and STI prevention
methods. Alternatively, participants may have been con-
cerned about the confidentiality of their responses, or reluc-
tant to divulge potentially embarrassing information,
thereby decreasing their endorsement of socially undesir-
able items.
Adolescents with and without ADHD did not differ on
other items assessing RSB. Both groups showed startlingly
high rates for the frequency of intercourse while under the
influence of drugs/alcohol, and infrequent use of a combi-
nation of reliable contraception and STI prevention meth-
ods. In addition to the numerous risk factors of unprotected
sex mentioned above, alcohol and drug use prior to sex is
associated with further lapses in judgment, disinhibition of
sexual behaviors, and an increased likelihood of additional
RSB (Cooper, 2002; Staton et al., 1999).
Contrary to expectations and studies assessing relation-
ship aggression and conflict resolution in adults with ADHD
(Canu & Carlson, 2007; Overbey et al., 2011; White &
Buehler, 2012; Wymbs et al., 2012), adolescents with and
without ADHD did not differ on any variables assessing
abuse perpetrated or incurred. Nor they did differ on the
frequency of more adaptive, reconciliatory, patterns of
behavior. These results may be partially explained by the
relatively low ratings of conduct problems in the sample of
adolescents with ADHD. Although there were significant
group differences in parental appraisal of conduct prob-
lems, the mean score of the ADHD sample still fell within
the average range. Furthermore, no group difference
emerged according to teacher and self-reports of conduct
problems. CD and its successor antisocial personality disor-
der (ASP) are linked with intimate partner violence
(Schumacher, Feldbau-Kohn, Smith Slep, & Heyman,
2001). The moderately low scores of adolescents in this
sample may therefore be mitigating the levels of relation-
ship aggression found in other studies. Alternatively, it is
also possible that participants with ADHD were reluctant to
disclose abusive and potentially self-incriminating
Relationship Quality
Finally, adolescents with and without ADHD did not differ
on measures of relationship quality, as assessed by levels of
social support and negative interactions. While ADHD sta-
tus in adulthood is associated with lower relationship satis-
faction and a higher incidence of divorce (Biederman et al.,
1993; Murphy & Barkley, 1996), and non-ADHD spouses
report feelings of resentment and dissatisfaction due to
Table 3. Risky Sexual Behavior Among Adolescents With and
Without ADHD.
ADHD Comparison
Behavior n%n%χ2
1st sexual partner casual 6/10 60 5/11 46 0.44
Casual sex (past year) 6/10 60 2/11 18 3.89*
Multiple sex partners
4/10 40 0/11 0 5.44*
Intercourse while usingb
5/10 50 5/11 45 0.04
Infrequentc use of
reliabled B/C + STI
prevention methods
8/10 80 9/11 81 0.01
Unwanted pregnancy 1/10 10 0/11 0 1.16
STI 0/11 0 0/10 0
Note. STI = sexually transmitted infection.
aMultiple is defined as 4 or more partners.
bDefined as some of the time, half of the time, most of the time.
cInfrequent is defined as less than almost always.
dReliable methods of birth control plus STI prevention defined as use of
condom + birth control.
*p < .05.
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8 Journal of Attention Disorders
inadequate emotional support and an unequal distribution
of household responsibilities (Weiss et al., 1999), it is pos-
sible that the expectations and level of support implied in
adolescent relationships are not as demanding as in adult-
hood. Furthermore, several studies and comprehensive
reviews (e.g., Hoza et al., 2004; Owens, Goldfine,
Evangelista, Hoza, & Kaiser, 2007) describe how individu-
als with ADHD tend to underreport the presence of prob-
lems and overestimate their own competence in social
Limitations and Future Directions
These preliminary results, while interesting, should be con-
sidered in light of several important caveats. As in all stud-
ies, the generalizability of the findings is constrained by
sample characteristics. The small sample size decreased the
power of this study to detect small effects. Furthermore, the
small sample prevented further exploration of factors poten-
tially moderating the relationship between ADHD status
and various outcome variables. Future studies should exam-
ine the role of the distal context (e.g., culture, ethnicity,
socioeconomic status), the immediate context (e.g., family
structure, family relations, parental monitoring, peer
groups) and child characteristics (comorbidity, self-esteem,
attachment, achievement) in explaining the association
between ADHD and the features of romantic relationships.
For example, comorbid externalizing behaviors have been
found to exacerbate the social skills problems and peer
functioning difficulties associated with ADHD (for reviews,
see Becker, Luebbe, & Langberg, 2012; Villodas, Pfiffner,
& McBurnett, 2012). Thus, while it is likely that comorbid
ODD/CD would also affect romantic functioning similarly,
the absence of comorbid ODD/CD diagnoses in the present
sample did not allow for further exploration of this
Conversely, it would also be interesting to examine how
romantic relationships can positively or negatively affect
other developmental outcomes, including cognitive and
emotional processes, educational attainment, family and
peer functioning, substance use, and externalizing and
internalizing symptomatology. Finally, future studies
should also examine other features of romantic relation-
ships defined by Collins (2003) that were not described in
the present study. For example, it would be important to
investigate the characteristics of the partner with whom the
adolescent has had a romantic experience.
Another limitation of this study was its reliance on self-
report to assess relationship content and quality. Although
the use of self-report is commonplace in the study of ado-
lescent behavior, it is susceptible to response bias (Kazdin,
1998; Wolfe et al., 2001). Eakin et al. (2004) suggests that
in ADHD couples, partners often have conflicting views
regarding their relationship. In addition, adolescents with
ADHD have a propensity to inflate self-appraisals and
downplay problematic behavior. Accordingly, obtaining
corroboration from romantic partners would lend more
credibility to the findings.
Given the unique contributions of this multi-faceted
study, it would appear that the strengths of the current
investigation outweigh its limitations. This investigation
explored several aspects, rather than just one facet, of
romantic relationships in individuals with ADHD.
Moreover, the sample included both males and females and
the age range was 13 to 18. The inclusion of adolescents
who are still attending middle school or secondary school is
important because romantic relationships of adolescents
with ADHD in this age range has been understudied. The
young age of the sample also meant that participants did not
have to retrospectively recall their relationship history, thus
limiting the confounding and biased effects of recall.
Clinical Implications
The findings regarding romantic involvement and sexual
behavior in the current study have important implications
for the parents, educators, and clinicians who work with
adolescents with ADHD. Unfortunately, only a minority of
adolescents with ADHD, about one in eight, receive care
for their disorder (Jensen et al., 1999). Most are treated
with stimulant medication (Smith, Waschbusch,
Willoughby, & Evans, 2000) and few receive some form or
psychosocial or educational intervention. Given the poor
outcomes associated with RSB, relationship instability, and
negative partner characteristics, it is imperative that any
comprehensive assessment of adolescents with ADHD
include queries into the nature of their romantic relation-
ships. In turn, information obtained may help clinicians
devise specific and individualized strategies to help adoles-
cents prevent and/or cope with romantic relationship diffi-
culties. At a more universal level, results from this study,
although preliminary, may help inform sex education pro-
grams seeking to reduce unsafe sexual behavior in this at-
risk population.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect
to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
The current study was supported by the Social Sciences and
Humanities Research Council of Canada.
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Author Biographies
Alan Rokeach is a doctoral student in school and clinical child
psychology in the Department of Applied Psychology and Human
Development at the University of Toronto (OISE). His current
focus of research is on the peer and romantic relationships of ado-
lescents with ADHD. He is also investigating the efficacy of a
social skills intervention program for pediatric brain tumour
Judith Wiener is a professor of school and clinical child psy-
chology in the Department of Applied Psychology and Human
Development at the University of Toronto (OISE). Her current
research is on the self-perceptions, family and social relationships
of children and adolescents with learning disabilities and ADHD.
She has published over 60 book chapters and articles in peer-
reviewed journals. Her book Psychological Assessment of
Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Children and Adolescents:
A Practitioner’s Guide, coauthored with Dr. Esther Geva, will be
published by Springer in the summer of 2014.
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... It is important to note that the samples investigated in these studies were composed almost entirely of male participants. In contrast to findings in these studies, no differences of age at first intercourse were found among girls with and without ADHD (29,30). However, girls with childhood ADHD engaged in oral sex at a significantly younger age and reported nearly twice as many oral sex partners than their non-ADHD peers (30). ...
... In the present study, in women with ADHD the amount of risky sexual behaviors was indeed positively correlated with impulsivity, suggesting that impulsivity is a risk factor for risky sexual behaviors in adults with ADHD as well. Furthermore, it was proposed that conduct problems during childhood and adolescence might also be a relevant moderator of the relationship between ADHD and risky sexual behaviors (29,64). We also found a significant correlation between risky sexual behaviors and oppositional symptoms at least in adult women with ADHD. ...
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Establishing a secure sexual identity is a major developmental goal of an individual's transition from childhood to adolescence and the years that follow. Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as a neurodevelopmental disorder defined by the core symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, but also with emotional dysregulation, oppositional behaviors, or disorganization appearing early in life, can affect several areas of an individual's personal and social development, including sexual health. Yet, the scientific knowledge about the relationship between ADHD and sexual functioning is still scarce. Using an anonymous online survey, we compared different sexual behaviors including risky sexual behaviors, hypersexual behaviors, and sexual dysfunctions between 206 individuals with (n = 139) and without (n = 76) ADHD. Individuals with ADHD reported significantly more hypersexual behaviors than non-ADHD individuals, whereas no differences were found concerning risky sexual behaviors or sexual dysfunctions. In women with ADHD, hypersexual behaviors, sexual risk-taking as well as sexual dysfunctions were closely related to symptoms of emotional dysregulation, impulsivity, and oppositional symptoms. In men with ADHD, the associations between ADHD symptomatology and the sexuality-related measures were less clear, however, signs of emotional dysregulation seemed to be relevant as well. Since individuals with ADHD seem to be at an increased risk of some peculiarities in sexual behavior, sexuality-related issues should be routinely addressed during clinical consultations to provide more holistic treatment in order to enhance individual well-being and quality of life.
... The difficulties with stigma, school, poor social relationships and comorbid mental illness in childhood further increase the risk of social isolation at a time when social integration is key, both to development more generally and to learning social skills that foster healthy relationships later in the life course (Copeland et al., 2018;. Indeed, by adolescence, ADHD is linked to more risky behavior, higher levels of substance use and (for adolescent girls) higher levels of teen pregnancy (Margherio et al., 2020;Rokeach & Wiener, 2018;Shoham et al., 2019Shoham et al., , 2020Skoglund et al., 2019). ...
... By young adulthood, individuals with ADHD report a higher number of lifetime sexual partners, more unprotected sex and more unplanned pregnancies than those without ADHD Owens & Hinshaw, 2020;Rokeach & Wiener, 2018). Some research suggests that the negative life outcomes associated with ADHD are larger in magnitude when comorbid disorders, such as depression, are also present (Biederman et al., 2008). ...
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Increasingly recognized as a chronic condition that can endure across the life course, childhood attention‐deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with less stable family formation and more strain around intimate unions (dating, cohabitation and marriage) and parenthood. This article reviews and evaluates multidisciplinary research on childhood ADHD, intimate unions and parenthood, with the purpose of motivating future sociological research in this area. The paper is organized into three general sections. First, I provide an overview of information on ADHD including its diagnosis and treatment, cross‐disciplinary etiologies, and sociodemographic correlates. Next, I blend sociological perspectives on labeling and stigma, social stress, and the life course to consider the role of ADHD‐related stigma in shaping associations of childhood ADHD with family formation processes (intimate unions and parenthood) and family functioning (relationship quality and communication) in adulthood. Finally, I discuss opportunities for future sociological research on childhood ADHD and adult family relationships that have the potential to contribute both to empirical research on childhood ADHD and adult family relationships, as well as to sociological research at the intersection of family and health.
... Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects 3 to 6% of children worldwide [1,2] and is diagnosed more frequently in boys compared to girls [3]. Individuals with ADHD have been shown to have lower academic [4,5] and work performance [6], less work stability [6], more difficulty with professional [6] and personal [7] relationships; Children were eligible for the present study if they were born after 2002 (N = 60,835), had completed a 36-month postnatal questionnaire (N = 34,190 remaining), did not have Down's syndrome or cerebral palsy (N = 34,099 remaining), had available maternal biospecimens (N = 28,097 remaining), were the result of a singleton pregnancy (N = 27,347 remaining), and resided within close proximity of Oslo (the location of the clinic assessment; N = 24,035 remaining) [48]. From this final eligible population, we linked with the Norwegian Patient Registry (NPR) to identify diagnosed cases of ADHD. ...
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Prenatal organophosphorus pesticides (OPs) are ubiquitous and have been linked to adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes. However, few studies have examined prenatal OPs in relation to diagnosed attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), with only two studies exploring this relationship in a population primarily exposed through diet. In this study, we used a nested case-control study to evaluate prenatal OP exposure and ADHD diagnosis in the Norwegian Mother, Father, and Child Cohort Study (MoBa). For births that occurred between 2003 and 2008, ADHD diagnoses were obtained from linkage of MoBa participants with the Norwegian Patient Registry (N = 297), and a reference population was randomly selected from the eligible population (N = 552). Maternal urine samples were collected at 17 weeks’ gestation and molar sums of diethyl phosphates (ΣDEP) and dimethyl phosphates metabolites (ΣDMP) were calculated. Multivariable adjusted logistic regression models were used to estimate the association between prenatal OP metabolite exposure and child ADHD diagnosis. Additionally, multiplicative effect measure modification (EMM) by child sex was assessed. In most cases, mothers in the second and third tertiles of ΣDMP and ΣDEP exposure had slightly lower odds of having a child with ADHD, although confidence intervals were wide and included the null. EMM by child sex was not observed for either ΣDMP or ΣDEP. In summary, we did not find evidence that OPs at 17 weeks’ gestation increased the odds of ADHD in this nested case-control study of ADHD in MoBa, a population primarily experiencing dietary exposure.
... For example, family conflict (ever been ordered to move out, been homeless) in this study reported no impacts on RR which is different from the previous study (Reuven-Krispin et al., 2021, Xia et al., 2018. ADHD is not affecting RR in this study which appose Rokeach and Wiener research result (Rokeach & Wiener, 2018). Nevertheless, experience in attending vocational/job/training (r = −.049), ...
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Romantic relationship (RR) is inevitable among adolescents that faced various challenges in the process of physical and psychological development. However, worldwide statistics reported a drop in the marriage and birth rate. This raises a concern and urgent in warrantying a fruitful RR among young adults without affecting academic performance. This study utilizes ICPSR’s National longitudinal study of young adults (aged 18–27) datasets in analysing RR’s covariates and its impacts on education. Three datasets are merged, cleaned, and transformed (N = 2473, currently in relationship = 2218 (89.69%)). SPSS is used to analyse the correlation between RR with various factors (86 demographic variables, 56 RR detail variables, and 30 educational performance variables). Results showed that the pattern of RR is that 96% of young adults (93.18% aged 19–24) experienced 1st romantic relationship with 41.24% scored CGPA 2.0–2.9. 11 demographic variables, 11 romantic details variables, and 45 academic performance variables are significantly related to RR. RR also positively impacts CGPA and reduce the failure rate significantly. This study is important in providing insight in the future research in the construction of predictive modelling of young adults’ RR and academic performance to increase the success of young adults’ marriage while warrantying educational quality to promote a healthy society.
... A small scale Canadian study which recruited a community sample of 58 young people aged 13-18 years found that those with ADHD reported having more than double the number of lifetime sexual partners when compared with their peers. Females with ADHD reported shorter romantic relationships than their peers and males reported their first sexual intercourse to be almost two years earlier than their peers [127]. A combination of increased risky sexual behaviour and ADHD symptoms experienced during childhood also places adolescent females at greater risk of sexual victimisation [128]. ...
Technical Report
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This research was commissioned by the NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to identify the current health needs and service provision for adults and children with neurodevelopmental conditions in Liverpool; focusing on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autistic Spectrum Disorders. The findings from this report aimed to inform decisions relating to the commissioning and delivery of local services for individuals with neurodevelopmental conditions
... In an intriguing early study, James and Taylor (1990) extracted a small sample of 61 boys and 18 girls with diagnosed hyperkinetic disordera diagnosis far more stringent than the current ADHD criteriafrom a large clinical sample. The female subsample was overrepresented with language disorders and low IQ scores compared with the male subsample (see Berry et al., 1985, who also found greater peer rejection in their female sample; see also Rokeach & Wiener, 2018, regarding relationship quality in female vs. male adolescents with ADHD). Such a pattern is just what would be predicted from the constitutional variability model. ...
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – and its underlying behavioral dimensions of inattention and hyperactivity–impulsivity – have been understudied in females. We first cover the conceptual issues of prevalence, diagnostic practices, diversity, comorbidity, and causal factors, plus forces limiting awareness of ADHD in females. After a narrative review of cross-sectional and longitudinal findings, we conclude the following. (a) Girls meet diagnostic criteria for ADHD at just under half the rates of boys, a ratio that becomes much closer to equal by adulthood. (b) Girls and women with ADHD show a predominance of inattention and associated internalizing problems; boys and men display greater levels of hyperactive–impulsive symptoms and associated externalizing problems. (c) Sex differences in ADHD symptoms and related outcomes depend heavily on the clinical versus nonreferred nature of the samples under investigation. (d) Females with ADHD experience, on average, serious impairments, with a particularly heightened risk for problems in close relationships and engagement in self-harm. (e) Clinicians may overlook symptoms and impairments in females because of less overt (but still impairing) symptom manifestations in girls and women and their frequent adoption of compensatory strategies. Our review of predictors and mediators of adult outcomes highlights (a) the potential for heterotypically continuous pathways in females with childhood ADHD and (b) developmental progressions to self-harm, intimate partner violence, unplanned pregnancy, and comorbid psychopathology. Focusing on ADHD in females is necessary to characterize causal and maintaining mechanisms with accuracy and to foster responsive interventions, as highlighted in our closing list of clinical implications and research priorities.
... If the cognitive load demanded by adolescent life surpasses one's abilities, an adolescent with ADHD may experience greater impairments than in childhood. Similarly, adolescent social environments are increasingly complex, and teens with ADHD experience elevated rates of social rejection and bullying, fewer friendships and difficulties in romantic relationships [14][15][16]. In the family setting, parent-teen conflict is particularly elevated in youth with ADHD, which also impacts parenting stress [1,17]. ...
The most effective treatments for child and adolescent psychopathology are often family-based, emphasising the active involvement of family members beyond the referred individual. This book details the clinical skills, knowledge, and attitudes that form the core competencies for the delivery of evidence-based family interventions for a range of mental health problems. Offering practical case studies to illustrate treatment principles, and discussing barriers to treatment and problem-solving in relation to common difficulties. Covers topics such as anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, sleep, and eating disorders. Therapist competencies are thoroughly examined, from the role they play in severe/complex cases and in achieving successful outcomes to commonly misunderstood aspects of family-based interventions and how they can be enhanced. Clinical approaches to working with diverse families, and those of children affected by parental psychopathology, child maltreatment and family violence are also explored. Essential reading for psychologists, psychiatrists, paediatricians, mental health nurses, counsellors and social workers.
Background Attention-deficit/hyperactivity-disorder (ADHD) is a leading neurodevelopmental disorder in children worldwide; however, few modifiable risk factors have been identified. Organophosphate esters (OPEs) are ubiquitous chemical compounds that are increasingly prevalent as a replacement for other regulated chemicals. Current research has linked OPEs to neurodevelopmental deficits. The purpose of this study was to assess gestational OPE exposure on clinically-assessed ADHD in children at age 3 years. Methods In this nested case-control study within the Norwegian Mother, Father, and Child Cohort study, we evaluated the impact of OPE exposure at 17 weeks’ gestation on preschool-age ADHD. Between 2007 and 2011, 260 ADHD cases were identified using the Preschool Age Psychiatric Assessment and compared to a birth-year-stratified control group of 549 children. We categorized bis(2-butoxyethyl) phosphate (BBOEP) and bis(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (BDCIPP) as values < limit of detection (LOD) (BBOEP N = 386, BDCIPP N = 632), ≥LOD but < limit of quantification (LOQ) (BBOEP N = 413; BDCIPP N = 75), or above LOQ (BBOEP N = 70; BDCIPP N = 102). Diphenyl phosphate (DPhP) and di-n-butyl phosphate (DnBP) were categorized as quartiles and also modeled with a log10 linear term. We estimated multivariable adjusted odds ratios (ORs) using logistic regression and examined modification by sex using an augmented product term approach. Results Mothers in the 3rd DnBP quartile had 1.71 times the odds of having a child with ADHD compared to the 1st quartile (95%CI: 1.13, 2.58); a similar trend was observed for log10 DnBP and ADHD. Mothers with BDCIPP ≥ LOD but < LOQ had 1.39 times the odds of having a child with ADHD compared to those with BDCIPP < LOD (95%CI: 0.83, 2.31). Girls had lower odds of ADHD with increasing BBOEP exposure (log10 OR: 0.55 (95%CI: 0.37, 0.93), however boys had a weakly increased odds (log10 OR: 1.25 (95%CI: 0.74, 2.11) p-interaction = 0.01]. Conclusions We found modest increased odds of preschool ADHD with higher DnBP and BDCIPP exposure.
This book chapter provides a review of recent data regarding the friendships, romantic relationships, and risky sexual behavior of adolescents with ADHD. It offers information as well as recommendations for parents, caregivers, teachers, and clinicians caring for adolescents with ADHD. Additionally, it provides guidance on incorporating therapy to strengthen social skills that will help adolescents with ADHD build solid friendships and romantic relationships and prevent risky sexual behavior which has been associated with poor sexual health outcomes, violence victimization, and perpetration. We also discuss findings regarding the brain hormone oxytocin and its role in impulsive and aggressive behavior. Individuals working with and caring for adolescents and young adults with ADHD should discuss the increased risks associated with their condition and prepare them by providing them with resources, including medication and psychotherapy, to promote healthy relationship building into adulthood.
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This study examined the association between late adolescent romantic couple members’ interaction and their overall relationship quality. Stepwise regression analyses were used to predict couple members’ global self-reports of relationship quality from their own ratings of their interaction. Positive and negative behaviors, as well as patterns of interaction, were associated with relationship quality, with different patterns of association emerging for males and females. Girlfriends’ global reports of relationship quality were predicted from their perceptions of their boyfriends’ conflict and harmony, or the balance of supportive and conflictual behaviors in the interaction. In contrast, boyfriends’ global reports of relationship quality were predicted from their perceptions of their own support and their ratings of their own willingness to accept influence from their girlfriends. Gender differences in patterns of association are discussed in light of current theories of the development of romantic and peer relationships.
This book focuses on the crucial role that relationships play in the lives of teenagers. The authors particularly examine the ways that healthy relationships can help teens avoid such common risk behaviors as substance abuse, dating violence, sexual assault, and unsafe sexual practices. Addressing the current lack of effective prevention programs for teens, they present new strategies for encouraging healthy choices. The book first traces differences between the "rules of relating" for boys and girls and discusses typical and atypical patterns of experimentation in teens. The authors identify the common link among risk behaviors: the relationship connection. In the second part of the book, they examine the principles of successful programs used by schools and communities to cultivate healthy adolescent development. An illuminating conclusion describes the key ingredients for engaging adolescents, their parents, teachers, and communities in the effort to promote healthy, nonviolent relationships among teens. © 2006 by David A. Wolfe, Peter G. Jaffe, and Claire V. Crooks. All rights reserved.
Examined patterns of friendship participation, stability, and quality among previously unfamiliar, ethnically diverse girls with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; n = 140) and comparison (n = 88) girls, aged 6–12 years, who attended 5-week naturalistic summer camps. Each girl completed sociometric nominations during Weeks 1, 3, and 5 of the camps; friendships were indexed by examining patterns of reciprocal nominations. At each assessment point, girls with ADHD had fewer mutual friends and were more likely to have no friends. Girls with Combined-type ADHD exhibited difficulties maintaining friendships from the beginning to middle of camp, whereas girls with Inattentive-type ADHD demonstrated poor friendship stability from the middle to end of camp. In general, girls with ADHD had higher levels of negative relationship features—including conflict and relational aggression—than did comparison girls, but levels of positive relationship features did not differ across subgroups. Friendship status predicted positive and negative peer regard, controlling for Verbal IQ and diagnostic status. Overall, although girls with ADHD were able to make friends to some extent, they differed from comparison girls in terms of the likelihood of doing so, the ability to maintain the friendships that they did form, and the levels of negative features found in their friendships.
Recent years have seen tremendous advances in understanding and treating Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Now in a revised and expanded third edition, this authoritative handbook brings the field up to date with current, practical information on nearly every aspect of the disorder. Drawing on his own and others' ongoing, influential research - and the wisdom gleaned from decades of front-line clinical experience - Russell A. Barkley provides insights and tools for professionals working with children, adolescents, or adults. Part I presents foundational knowledge about the nature and developmental course of ADHD and its neurological, genetic, and environmental underpinnings. The symptoms and subtypes of the disorder are discussed, as are associated cognitive and developmental challenges and psychiatric comorbidities. In Parts II and III, Barkley is joined by other leading experts who offer state-of-the-art guidelines for clinical management. Assessment instruments and procedures are described in detail, with expanded coverage of adult assessment. Treatment chapters then review the full array of available approaches - parent training programs, family-focused intervention for teens, school- and classroom-based approaches, psychological counseling, and pharmacotherapy - integrating findings from hundreds of new studies. The volume also addresses such developments as once-daily sustained delivery systems for stimulant medications and a new medication, atomoxetine. Of special note, a new chapter has been added on combined therapies. Chapters in the third edition now conclude with user-friendly Key Clinical Points. This comprehensive volume is intended for a broad range of professionals, including child and adult clinical psychologists and psychiatrists, school psychologists, and pediatricians. It serves as a scholarly yet accessible text for graduate-level courses. Note: Practitioners wishing to implement the assessment and treatment recommendations in the Handbook are advised to purchase the companion Workbook, which contains a complete set of forms, questionnaires, and handouts, in a large-size format with permission to photocopy. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)(jacket)
This study examined the association between ADHD symptoms experienced before age 12 and sexual victimization during adolescence in a sample of 374 college women who had not been sexually victimized as children. The linkage with risky sexual behavior and the moderating effects of sociodemographic factors also were considered using structural equation modeling. ADHD symptoms were associated with greater sexual victimization during adolescence and were linked with sexual victimization through engagement in risky sexual behavior. Sociodemographic factors did not affect the overall model; however, sociodemographic factors were differentially related to certain paths in the model. In particular, the associations between ADHD symptoms and sexual victimization, as well as risky sexual behavior, were stronger for Black than White women. Also, the relation between ADHD risky sexual behaviors was stronger for young women who grew up with only their mother than with both parents, and for those whose primary caregiver was employed rather than unemployed.