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Investigating friendship difficulties in the pathway from ADHD to depressive symptoms. Can parent-child relationships compensate?

Powell, Victoria, Riglin, Lucy, Ng-Knight, Terry, Frederickson, Norah, Woolf, Katherine, McManus, Chris, Collishaw, Stephan, Shelton, Katherine, Thapar, Anita and Rice, Frances 2021. Investigating friendship difficulties in the pathway from ADHD to depressive symptoms. Can parent-child relationships compensate? Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology 49 , pp. 1031-1041. 10.1007/s10802-021-00798-w

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Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with friendship difficulties. This may partly account for the increasingly recognised association between ADHD and subsequent depression. Little is known about the types of friendship difficulties that could contribute to the association between ADHD and depressive symptoms and whether other relationships, such as parent–child relationships, can mitigate against potential adverse effects of friendship difficulties. In a representative UK school sample (n = 1712), three main features of friendship (presence of friends, friendship quality and characteristics of the individual’s classroom friendship group) were assessed in a longitudinal study with two assessment waves (W1, W2) during the first year of secondary school (children aged 11-12 years). These friendship features (W1) were investigated as potential mediators of the prospective association between teacher-rated ADHD symptoms (W1) and self-rated depressive symptoms (W2) seven months later. Parent–child relationship quality (W1) was tested as a moderator of any indirect effects of ADHD on depression via friendship. ADHD symptoms were inversely associated with friendship presence, friendship quality and positive characteristics of classroom friendship groups. Depressive symptoms were inversely associated with presence and quality of friendships. Friendship quality had indirect effects in the association between ADHD and subsequent depressive symptoms. There was some evidence of moderated mediation, whereby indirect effects via friendship quality attenuated slightly as children reported warmer parent–child relationships. This highlights the importance of considering the quality of friendships and parent–child relationships in children with ADHD symptoms. Fostering good quality relationships may help disrupt the link between ADHD symptomology and subsequent depression risk.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 2730-7166
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 February 2021
Date of Acceptance: 21 February 2021
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2022 10:57

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