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Title: Executive function and social competence in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Author: Carter, Leonie Joanne
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2004
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Executive function deficits have been implicated in the difficulties experienced by children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (Pennington & Ozonoff, 1996). In particular, impairments in inhibition and self-regulation have been reported (Barkley, 1997). In addition, many children with ADHD experience social difficulties (Barkley, 1998) and this may influence the generally poor long-term outcome experienced by many of these children (Taylor, Chadwick, Hepinstall & Danckarets, 1996). It is argued that the cognitive and social difficulties are not related. Problems with impulsive or disinhibited responding may disrupt the information processing system for socially relevant information. This study aims to investigate the association between executive function and social competence in everyday life in children with ADHD and compare their results to a control group. In addition, this study aims to investigate whether children with ADHD have emotion recognition deficits, in comparison to a control group. Twenty-one children with a diagnosis of ADHD and twenty-one children with no diagnosis of ADHD were assessed using a battery of executive function tasks and were asked to complete a questionnaire related to their social competence. In addition, parents and teachers were asked to complete two questionnaires regarding the child’s social competence in everyday life. This study found that children with ADHD performed equally well on executive function tasks, measuring inhibition and cognitive flexibility. However, there was a significant difference between the groups on measures of social competence. There was evidence of an association between the executive function tasks and social competence measures for the control group, but not the ADHD group. Children with ADHD performed as well as the control group on an emotion recognition task. It is argued that a decrease in disinhibited behaviour results in improved peer relationships (Barkley, 1990). However, the findings from this study contradict this hypothesis. It is suggested that earlier intervention and the provision of effective social skills training may help alleviate some of the difficulties experienced by individuals with ADHD.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available