Increasing evidence has suggested both gene and environmental factors contributing to ADHD. The function of family, like parent-child relationship and parents’ supervision strategies, has been implicated in the clinical history and manifestation of the disorder.
Nonetheless, little is known about the underlying psychological mechanism of the association. Because cognitive functions, particular working memory impairments, have been found to predict ADHD, it is assumed that working memory may influence the association between parenting and ADHD symptoms. In present study, we tested our hypothesis by focusing on ADHD inattentive type (ADHD-I) using a community-based Chinese sample.
Totally, 221 Chinese boys (aged between 6 and 13 years old) and their mothers participated in this cohort study and finished according questionnaires. Our findings revealed that ‘parental positive involvement with children’ as well as ‘supervision and monitoring’ could significantly predict ADHD inattentive traits respectively, but not ‘the use of positive discipline techniques’, ‘consistency in the use of such discipline’, and ‘use of corporal punishment’.
The overall score of Alabama Parenting Questionnaire (APQ) was positively correlated with ADHD inattentive traits in our Chinese cohort. Moreover, the Backward Digit-Span task scores were significantly correlated with ADHD-I traits. Subsequent linear regression modeling demonstrated that both good parenting experience and better working memory ability were associated with fewer ADHD inattentive traits after adjustment to age, although no mediator/ moderator effect was observed for working memory.
Consistently with the western population, parenting, as an environmental factor, is associated with ADHD inattentive traits in Chinese children. Although no mediator/moderator is detected for working memory, it has been found to be associated with ADHD-I traits in Chinese cohort.
Our findings suggest other possible psychological pathways may underlie the mechanism of the parenting effects on ADHD-I traits, which warrant further exploration. Current study using a sub-clinical population approach will promote our better understanding of ADHD behavioral phenotypes in clinics and initiate specific psychosocial interventions for ADHD children.
This update was kindly provided by Dr. Lu Hua Chen & Prof. Patrick Wing-Leung Leung, Department of Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.