Clinical Psychology 10 (2017), 1-2, 35-58

Original scientific paper

Academic, Social and Emotional Functioning of Children at Risk for Development of ADHD

Tena Velki - Faculty of Education, Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek, Osijek
Ksenija Romstein - Faculty of Education, Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek, Osijek

Fulltext (croatian, pages 35-58).pdf

Numerous studies have shown that children with ADHD express problems in academic, social, and emotional functioning. However, there are very few studies dealing with children with subthreshold ADHD, where such deviations could be indicative for the consequential development of the disorder, and as such are very important in the organization of preventive programs. The goal of the research was to test the academic (academic achievement, academic self-efficacy), social (number of friends, peer acceptance, social self-efficacy) and emotional (empathy, emotional competence, emotional self-efficacy) functioning of children with subthreshold ADHD. The study included 492 students in the 4th, 6th and 8th grades (average age M = 12.72, SD = 1.62). The students were divided into 3 groups based on the self-assessment of symptoms according to DSM-V, wherein 11% (N = 55) of students self-evaluated having subthreshold symptoms for ADHD and 13.6% (N = 68) self-evaluated having symptoms for a diagnosis of ADHD. These two groups were considered to be suspect for ADHD, while other students did not report having symptoms of ADHD (75.4%, N = 377). The following instruments were used: Scale of Hyperactivity-Impulsivity-Attention (HIP; Vulić-Prtorić, 2006), Self-efficacy Questionnaire for Children (SEQ-C, Vulić-Prtorić & Sorić, 2006), Questionnaire of Emotional Competence (UEK-45; Takšić, 2002), Emotional Empathy Scale of E-Questionnaire (Raboteg-Šarić, 2002). The students were also asked to self-evaluate peer acceptance, the number of friends they have and to give information about school success. The results showed that children suspected for ADHD have a deficit in academic functioning (both aspects, F(2,490) academic achievement = 3.87, p = 0.021, ω = 0.11; F(2,490) academic self-efficacy = 23.46, p = 0.000, ω = 0.29), while social and emotional functioning deviations were found to have only one aspect (F(2,490) peer acceptance = 4.35, p = 0.013, ω = 0.12; F(2,490) emotional self-efficacy = 6.76, p = 0.001, ω = 0.15). We can conclude that children suspected for ADHD certainly have a deficit in academic functioning, but when we talk about social and emotional functioning these differences are minor and only relate to some examined aspects which should be further investigated in future studies. Future prevention programs should focus primarily on assistance in school adjustment, but also in the development of social skills necessary for the creation of close peer relationships and to the development of the child’s ability to cope with negative emotions.

ADHD, academic functioning, social development, emotional development, primary school students

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