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Problematic Peer Functioning in Girls with ADHD: A Systematic Literature Review

Kok, F. M., Groen, Y., Fuermaier, A. B. M. & Tucha, O., 21-Nov-2016, In : PLoS ONE. 11, 11, 20 p., e0165119.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

OBJECTIVE: Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) experience many peer interaction problems and are at risk of peer rejection and victimisation. Although many studies have investigated problematic peer functioning in children with ADHD, this research has predominantly focused on boys and studies investigating girls are scant. Those studies that did examine girls, often used a male comparison sample, disregarding the inherent gender differences between girls and boys. Previous studies have highlighted this limitation and recommended the need for comparisons between ADHD females and typical females, in order to elucidate the picture of female ADHD with regards to problematic peer functioning. The aim of this literature review was to gain insight into peer functioning difficulties in school-aged girls with ADHD.

METHODS: PsychINFO, PubMed, and Web of Knowledge were searched for relevant literature comparing school-aged girls with ADHD to typically developing girls (TDs) in relation to peer functioning. The peer relationship domains were grouped into 'friendship', 'peer status', 'social skills/competence', and 'peer victimisation and bullying'. In total, thirteen studies were included in the review.

RESULTS: All of the thirteen studies included reported that girls with ADHD, compared to TD girls, demonstrated increased difficulties in the domains of friendship, peer interaction, social skills and functioning, peer victimization and externalising behaviour. Studies consistently showed small to medium effects for lower rates of friendship participation and stability in girls with ADHD relative to TD girls. Higher levels of peer rejection with small to large effect sizes were reported in all studies, which were predicted by girls' conduct problems. Peer rejection in turn predicted poor social adjustment and a host of problem behaviours. Very high levels of peer victimisation were present in girls with ADHD with large effect sizes. Further, very high levels of social impairment and social skills deficits, with large effect sizes, were found across all studies. Levels of pro-social behaviour varied across studies, but were mostly lower in girls with ADHD, with small to large effect sizes. Overall, social disability was significantly higher among girls with ADHD than among TD girls.

CONCLUSION: Congruous evidence was found for peer functioning difficulties in the peer relationship domains of friendship, peer status, social skills/competence, and peer victimisation and bullying in girls with ADHD.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0165119
Number of pages20
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume11
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 21-Nov-2016

    Keywords

  • ATTENTION-DEFICIT/HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER, DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER, STIMULANT MEDICATION USE, RELATIONAL AGGRESSION, GENDER-DIFFERENCES, CONDUCT PROBLEMS, BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS, SEX-DIFFERENCES, TRADE-OFFS, CHILDREN

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