Category: ADHD - Child
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and anxiety disorders are highly prevalent and often comorbid in youth. While maladaptive cognitions, such as negative self-statements, have been extensively explored in anxious populations, their role in youth with ADHD is understudied. The current study examined the role negative self-statements have on the comorbidity between anxious symptomatology and ADHD-combined presentation (ADHD-C) and ADHD-predominantly inattentive (ADHD-I).
A total of 115 children and adolescents with ADHD (male n = 66; 57.9%; White n = 88; 77.2%; M age = 10.2; range = 7-16) from a clinic-referred sample were grouped based on a semistructured diagnostic interview (i.e., Anxiety Disorder Interview Schedule for DSM-IV: Parent Version; ADHD-C, n = 62; ADHD-I, n = 52). Negative self-statements were measured using the Children’s Automatic Thoughts Scale and the total score from the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children was used to measure anxious symptomatology.
A MANOVA was conducted to determine whether ADHD-I and ADHD-C groups differed in their frequency of negative self-statements on the CATS while controlling for familywise Type I error. Findings indicated youth diagnosed with ADHD-C, compared to those diagnosed with ADHD-I, had significantly more social threat (Cohen's d =.40) and hostile intent negative self-statements (Cohen's d =.46). Separate multiple regression models were used to test the relative association of ADHD subtype and anxiety with negative self-statements. Age, gender, and oppositional behavior were entered in the first step as covariates, ADHD subtype and anxiety symptoms were entered in the second step of separate hierarchical regression models predicting different types of negative self-statements. The association of ADHD subtype and negative self-statements was moderated by anxiety; negative self-statements of personal failure were highest in anxious ADHD-C children (β =.31). In contrast, anxiety was the only significant predictor of physical threat and social threat negative self-statements. Finally, higher anxiety and an ADHD-C (vs. ADHD-I) diagnosis both predicated more frequent negative self-statements of hostile intent.