Year of Publication

2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Richard Milich

Abstract

This study examined the emotion recognition of children (ages 7-9 years) with and without Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Children completed two emotion recognition measures, the Diagnostic Analysis of Nonverbal Accuracy 2 (DANVA2) and the Child and Adolescent Social Perception measure (CASP). Children and their parents also completed an assessment of children’s social skills, the Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS). Children with ADHD reported a significantly greater level of depressive symptoms and had significantly lower full scale IQ scores than children without ADHD. When these differences were accounted for, children with ADHD continued to show a handful of deficits in emotion recognition. They demonstrated difficulties in emotion recognition on the DANVA2 regarding specific emotions, fear and sadness. On the CASP, children with ADHD made significantly more errors than children without ADHD due to a tendency to make up information to explain how they were able to identify feelings. Children’s performance on the emotion recognition measures did not significantly mediate the relation between their diagnostic status and social skills (as rated by parents). In summary, additional evidence was found regarding the deficits in emotion recognition experienced by children with ADHD, however, further work needs to be done to determine if these deficits relate to the peer difficulties experienced by these children.

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