Parenting children with ADHD: associations with parental ADHD and depression (2018)
Considerable research documents parents’ difficulty parenting children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In addition to the stress associated with parenting a child with ADHD, many parents experience their own symptoms of ADHD and depression. Research has found that parental ADHD and depression affect parenting behaviours, however, the incremental and interactive effects have rarely been considered in the same study. Further, there is inconsistent consideration of oppositional behaviours in children with ADHD, a common comorbidity known to contribute to non-optimal parenting. A parent’s perceived and internalized stigma about their child’s ADHD symptoms, called affiliate stigma, may also be associated with parental psychopathology and parenting behaviours. This study examines the incremental and interactive influence of parental ADHD symptoms and parental depressive symptoms on parenting behaviours and affiliate stigma. It further examines affiliate stigma as a mediator for the relationship between parental depressive symptoms and parenting behaviours. Participants were 216 parents of children with ADHD. Parents self-reported their ADHD and depressive symptoms, parenting behaviours, and affiliate stigma. Teachers and parents rated child oppositional behaviours. A parent-child interaction task with a smaller sample (n = 142) was also coded for parenting behaviours. Results revealed that parental depressive symptoms predicted fewer self-reported positive parenting behaviours after controlling for parental ADHD symptoms and child oppositional behaviours. Parental depressive and ADHD symptoms were predictive of more self-reported negative parenting after controlling for child oppositional behaviours and the other psychopathology. An exploratory interaction effect was found, whereby parental ADHD symptoms predicted more self-reported negative parenting when depressive symptoms were low. Parental ADHD and depressive symptoms initially predicted self-reported unstructured parenting, but this association was not significant after controlling for the other psychopathology. Parental ADHD and depressive symptoms did not predict observed parenting behaviours. Although parental depressive symptoms predicted higher levels of affiliate stigma, affiliate stigma did not mediate the relationship between parental depressive symptoms and parenting behaviours. Findings suggest that parental ADHD and depressive symptoms may have some similarities and also differences in their associations with parenting. Importantly, future research, assessment, and treatment of families with children with ADHD should consider the potential effects of both psychopathologies.