Parent-child interactions with ADHD children: Parental empathy as a predictor of child adjustment.

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Parent-child interactions tend to be problematic among families of children diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Although much attention has been paid in research and therapy to negative cycles of interaction between parent and child, it is equally important to consider how positive family interactions can be promoted, as these are likely to help prevent or reduce behavior problems and facilitate the best possible outcomes for children. Major contributors to the fields of psychology and child therapy have postulated that parental empathy is of primary importance in facilitating healthy child personality development. However, the effect of parental empathy has not been ... continued below

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Warren, Michelle A. August 2003.

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  • Warren, Michelle A.

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Parent-child interactions tend to be problematic among families of children diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Although much attention has been paid in research and therapy to negative cycles of interaction between parent and child, it is equally important to consider how positive family interactions can be promoted, as these are likely to help prevent or reduce behavior problems and facilitate the best possible outcomes for children. Major contributors to the fields of psychology and child therapy have postulated that parental empathy is of primary importance in facilitating healthy child personality development. However, the effect of parental empathy has not been systematically studied with ADHD children. Thus, this study investigated the relationship between parental empathy and child adjustment factors in children with ADHD. It was hypothesized that among parent-child dyads with ADHD children, higher levels of parental empathy would predict higher levels of child self-esteem, social skills, and compliance, and lower levels of child aggression.

Participants were 56 children who were previously diagnosed with ADHD and their parent/guardian. Thirty-seven parent-child dyads served as a control group. The study included parent-child participation in a videotaped analogue observation procedure and completion of parent-, child-, and teacher-report measures. Results indicated that higher levels of parental empathy predicted higher child self-esteem regarding their relationships with their parents. Before bonferroni adjustment, parental empathy also predicted lower levels of aggression among ADHD children. Parental empathy did not predict peer acceptance or compliance for these children. Children of high empathy parents scored higher on peer acceptance and lower on child aggression measures than children of low empathy parents. Scores on self-esteem and compliance, however, did not differ across groups. Although there were no differences between ADHD and non-ADHD children on self-esteem, peer acceptance, or compliance measures, children with ADHD were significantly more aggressive. These results suggest the importance of interventions for ADHD children that focus on increasing parental empathy in parent-child interactions.

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  • August 2003

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  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:53 p.m.

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  • Feb. 29, 2008, 2:05 p.m.

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Warren, Michelle A. Parent-child interactions with ADHD children: Parental empathy as a predictor of child adjustment., dissertation, August 2003; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4285/: accessed November 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .