Date of Award

12-15-2014

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Mark D. Weist

Abstract

Youth with Attention/Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have many obstacles to positive development (including difficulties in school settings) and are in need of support. However, few studies have focused on the ways in which positive factors, such as student engagement (SE), may be beneficial for this population to identify strategies for supporting their strengths. Although many studies have examined academic and behavioral aspects of SE, few studies have examined the psychological (i.e., teacher-student relationships, peer support for learning, family support for learning) and cognitive (i.e., control and relevance of school work, future aspirations and goals, extrinsic motivation) sub-components of engagement. The current study fills a gap in this literature by exploring the moderating effects of each area of SE on the relationship between ADHD symptoms and academic performance. Participants included 647 high school students who were identified as having emotional, behavioral, and academic difficulties, from 50 high schools in five states across the United States. Results indicated a significant positive relationship between ADHD symptoms and parent-reported overall impairment. Interestingly, as level of perceived peer-support for learning increased, the number of failing grades a student received also increased. Future directions are discussed, as well as implications for schools and families.

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