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Social functioning in children with ADHD: An examination of inhibition, self-control, and working memory as potential mediators

Bullard, Caitlin C.
The study aims to explore the relative contributions of self-control, behavioral inhibition, and working memory deficits to ADHD-related social problems. Notably, the study adds to the current body of literature due to its use of a Go/No-Go (GNG) inhibition metric, working memory tasks with high central executive demands, and the unique inclusion of self-control. Fifty-eight children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and 63 typically developing (TD) children participated in the study. Self-control was measured via the task described in Patros et al. (2015), behavioral inhibition was measured using a Go/No-Go (GNG) task, working memory was measured using the Phonological Working Memory (PHWM) task, and parent and teacher social functioning was measured via the Social Problems narrow band scale of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and Teacher Report Form (TRF). Examination of potential indirect effects with the bootstrapping procedure indicated that the only significant mediator was PHWM for the relationship between group membership (ADHD, TD) and teacher ratings of child social functioning. These findings point to important implications regarding executive functioning difficulties at home compared to school as well as the use of measures that may have multicollinearity with each other (i.e., GNG versus Stop Signal Task). The current findings illuminate the need for more research related to working memory to help target social functioning interventions for children with ADHD.