Examining anxiety and depression as moderators of the associations between ADHD symptoms and academic and social problems in Hispanic adolescents

Stephen P. Becker, Paula J. Fite, Michael L. Vitulano, Sonia L. Rubens, Spencer C. Evans, John L. Cooley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

The effects of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms on the psychosocial functioning of Hispanic youth have been understudied. It also remains unclear if the well-established associations between ADHD symptoms and academic and social impairment are exacerbated by co-occurring internalizing symptoms. The purposes of the present study were to (1) examine whether ADHD symptoms would be associated with academic and social problems while also controlling for oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) symptoms, and (2) test the hypothesis that anxious and depressive symptoms would moderate the relations between ADHD symptoms and academic and social problems. Participants were 142 at-risk Hispanic adolescents (54 % male, ages 14-19) who reported on their anxious and depressive symptoms, as well as their teachers who reported on adolescents' ADHD symptoms, ODD symptoms, academic problems, and social problems. When the psychopathology variables were included simultaneously in a path model, ADHD was the only domain significantly positively associated with academic problems. In contrast, ODD and depressive symptoms were the only domains significantly positively associated with social problems when all of the psychopathology variables were included in the path model. No moderation effects were found in relation to academic problems, although a significant ADHD × depression interaction was found in relation to social problems. Specifically, ADHD symptoms were not associated with social problems among adolescents who reported low levels of depressive symptoms, but the association between ADHD symptoms and social problems was significant at higher levels of depression. In addition to targeting oppositionality, attending to the combined presence of ADHD and depressive symptoms will be important for reducing the social impairments among Hispanic adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-275
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment
Volume36
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2014

Keywords

  • ADHD
  • Academic functioning
  • Adolescence
  • Anxiety
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression
  • Hispanic youth
  • Social functioning

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