Date of Award

Winter 12-15-2015

Degree Type




Director of Thesis

Kate Flory

Second Reader

Mike McCall


This study tested the hypothesis that problem solving skills mediate the relation between ADHD symptoms and social impairment in children. Problem solving skills were evaluated by the Test of Problem Solving 3 – Elementary Version (TOPS), which separated problem solving skills into six different subtypes: making inferences, sequencing, negative questions, problem solving, predicting, and determining causes. ADHD symptoms were assessed through the parent report of the Disruptive Behavior Disorder Scale (DBD). Social impairment was assessed through the parent report of social skills using the Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS). Three hundred seventy-two (372) children between the ages of eight and ten years old and one of their parents or guardians participated in this study. The results found that the subscale problem solving mediated the relation between ADHD symptoms and social skills (ab = -.06, 95%CIs = -.00 to -.14). None of the other constructs measured showed mediation. These results provide partial support for the hypothesis. More research needs to be done to fully understand the complex interaction of problem solving skills, ADHD, and social impairment.

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