Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and social dysfunctioning

Department of Psychiatry, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Hanzeplein 1, 9713 GZ, Groningen, The Netherlands.
Clinical Psychology Review (Impact Factor: 7.18). 05/2008; 28(4):692-708. DOI: 10.1016/j.cpr.2007.10.003
Source: PubMed


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with functional impairments in different areas of daily life. One such area is social functioning. The purpose of this paper is to critically review research on social dysfunctioning in children with ADHD. Children with ADHD often have conflicts with adults and peers, and suffer from unpopularity, rejection by peers, and a lack of friendships, in part as a consequence of their ADHD symptoms. Comorbid oppositional defiant or conduct disorder aggravates these impairments. In some cases the inadequate social behavior of children with ADHD may be phenomenologically and etiologically related to pervasive developmental disorders (PDD). However, the causes and consequences of PDD symptoms in ADHD are understudied. Also, the relative contributions of ADHD, on the one hand, and comorbid disorders, on the other, to the course of social impairments are unknown. Social dysfunctioning in children with ADHD appears to increase their risk of later psychopathology other than ADHD. Thus far effective treatment for social dysfunctioning is lacking. Future research should address the exact nature and long-term consequences of social dysfunctioning in children with ADHD, and focus on development of effective treatment strategies.

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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To explore how ADHD may have affected the lives of older adults who meet the diagnostic criteria of ADHD, but are unaware of their diagnosis. Our second aim was to examine whether the reported symptoms change over the life span. Method: A qualitative study was conducted. Seventeen Dutch older people (>65 years) diagnosed in this study with ADHD participated in in-depth interviews. Data were analyzed according to techniques of thematic approach. Results: Seven themes emerged from the analyses. Four themes correspond to ADHD symptoms: "being active," "being impulsive," "attention problems," and "mental restlessness." In addition, the themes "low self-esteem," "overstepping boundaries," and "feeling misunderstood" emerged. The impact of ADHD symptoms seems to have declined with age. Conclusion: ADHD has a negative impact on late life, and older adults with the disorder may benefit from treatment. Moreover, this study's findings call for early detection and treatment of ADHD in children and adults.
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