Date of Award

Summer 2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Kate Flory

Abstract

Previous research has shown that Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is associated with impaired social functioning in children and adolescents. ADHD and poor social functioning have been shown to be separately associated with increased anxiety and depression symptoms as well. However, little research has examined these associations among college students. College is a transitional period of increased stress and exposure to new social situations for all students, but may be even more challenging for those with ADHD, who are already at risk for increased internalizing problems and impairment in social functioning. The current study aimed to examine the influence of ADHD symptoms and social functioning on anxiety and depression symptoms in traditional-aged college students attending a four-year university. Web-based surveys were completed by college students who self-reported on their ADHD symptoms, social functioning, and anxiety and depression symptoms. Additionally, a close friend of each participant also completed the ADHD and social functioning measures regarding the participant. Hypothesis 1, which predicted that ADHD symptoms would be significantly associated with social functioning, was not supported. Hypothesis 2, which predicted that increased ADHD symptoms would be associated with increased internalizing symptoms, was supported. Hypothesis 3 examined whether social functioning moderated the relation between continuous ADHD symptoms and internalizing symptoms (i.e., anxiety and depression symptoms, measured separately); hypothesis 3 was not supported for anxiety symptoms, however was supported for participant-reported social functioning moderating the relation between ADHD symptoms and depression symptoms. The current study filled a gap in and addressed limitations of previous research and highlights the importance of targeting internalizing symptoms in interventions for college students who are experiencing ADHD symptoms.

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