This study examined whether others (i.e., teachers and parents) and self-appraisals of social competence mediated the relationship between Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and depression. To determine whether age moderated the effects of the mediation, the total sample was divided into younger (under 9) and older (at or above 9 years) age levels. The total sample (age range 6.6 to 11.7 years) was primarily male (194 boys and 52 females) and consisted of 148 children diagnosed with ADHD and 98 community controls. Three central findings were derived from this study. First, there was a strong relationship between ADHD (with and without comorbid ODD/CD) and depression in both younger and older aged children. Among younger children with ADHD, there was no differential influence on the level of depression depending on whether or not ADHD was comorbid with ODD/CD; in contrast, with older children, comorbid ODD/CD had higher levels of depression than was the case for children with ADHD that did not display such comorbidity. Second, with younger children approximately half of the relationship between ADHD (with and without comorbid ODD/CD) and depression was exclusively mediated by others appraisal of social competence. Third, a more complex relationship between ADHD and depression emerged during the later part of the childhood years. As such, the relationship between ADHD, others appraisals of social competence, and depression was further mediated by self-appraisals of social competence. Findings are discussed in terms of developmental theory and theoretical models of childhood depression.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Acknowledgements This study was funded by Grant MH-46584 from the National Institute of Mental Health.
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Social competence