College of Psychology Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award

1-1-2013

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PhD)

Department

Center for Psychological Studies

First Advisor

Sarah Valley-Gray

Second Advisor

Ralph E. Cash

Third Advisor

David Reitman

Abstract

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common behavioral disorders diagnosed within childhood and affects approximately 9.5% of children in the United States. Additionally, approximately 35% to 60% of clinic-referred children will also meet the criteria for Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Increased levels of parenting stress are commonly experienced among parents of children diagnosed with ADHD and a number of factors contribute to this association. ADHD subtype has consistently presented itself as a factor; however, observing parenting stress levels between ADHD subtypes and ADHD with comorbid ODD within the same study has not been pursued in the literature. The present study utilized the Parenting Stress Index-Short Form (PSI/SF) to compare scores on the Total Stress, Parental Distress, and Parent-Child Dysfunctional interaction scales among mothers of children diagnosed with ADHD Predominantly Inattentive Type (ADHD-I), ADHD Combined Type (ADHD-C) and comorbid ADHD and ODD (ADHD/ODD). Following a One-Way Analysis of Covariance, a significant difference was found on the level of Total Stress reported by mothers of children diagnosed with ADHD/ODD when compared with mothers of children diagnosed with ADHD-C. No other significant differences were uncovered.

Additionally, the current study attempted to gain a better understanding of the relationship between parenting stress and chronological age of the diagnosed child by observing the correlation between child age and the level of parenting stress reported by mothers of children diagnosed with ADHD, in addition to a comorbid diagnosis of ADHD and ODD. Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients were calculated between child age and the Total Stress and Difficult Child scales on the PSI/SF; however neither achieved statistical significance. Finally, the present study compared the correlations between child age and maternal scores on the Total Stress and Difficult Child scales on the PSI/SF among children with a sole diagnosis of ADHD, to those of children with a comorbid diagnosis of ADHD/ODD. Correlations within the ADHD/ODD group among child age and the Total Stress and Difficult Child scales were both in the negative direction. In contrast, the correlations within the ADHD group were both in a positive direction.

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