SYNOPSIS: Objective. To examine the aspects of parenting stress—parental distress and parental stress due to dysfunctional interactions—reported by mothers of girls with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in both childhood and adolescence and to understand their associations with internalizing and externalizing symptoms in adolescence. Design. The diverse sample comprised 120 girls with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and 81 age- and ethnicity-matched comparison girls, evaluated at ages 6–12 years and followed prospectively for 5 years. Basic demographics, oppositionality, childhood behavioral outcomes and symptoms, and key parenting practice were covaried in the analyses. Results. Longitudinally, parental distress during the participants’ childhood was positively associated with adolescent externalizing and internalizing behaviors, even when statistically controlling for parallel childhood behaviors. Parental stress due to dysfunctional interactions during adolescence was associated with contemporaneous adolescent depressive symptoms and externalizing behaviors, but parental distress was associated with only internalizing behaviors. With respect to moderation by diagnostic group, parental stress due to dysfunctional interactions (in childhood) was associated with adolescent internalizing symptoms only in girls with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. However, associations between parental distress in childhood and internalizing behaviors were stronger in the comparison than the ADHD sample. Conclusions. Minimizing early dysfunctional interactions might reduce internalizing behaviors in girls with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Interventions targeting parental distress may be beneficial for girls, regardless of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder status.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology