Parenting practices and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: New findings suggest partial specificity of effects

Brandi Ellis, Joel Nigg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


Objective: Examine the relations of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis and symptom domains with parenting practices. Method: One hundred eighty-one children (ages 6-12 years) were assessed for ADHD and non-ADHD status via parent semistructured clinical interview (Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children-IV) and parent and teacher standardized ratings. They included controls (n = 52), ADHD Inattentive type (n = 24), and ADHD Combined type (n = 71) as well as "not otherwise specified" cases (included in regressions only). Parents completed the Alabama Parenting Questionnaire and a structured interview (the Diagnostic Interview Schedule-IV) about their own ADHD symptoms. Symptom counts were created for oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD), inattention, and hyperactivity-impulsivity to complement categorical analyses. Results: In categorical analysis, maternal inconsistent discipline was associated with ADHD Combined type, even with child ODD and CD diagnosis and parent ADHD symptoms statistically controlled. Paternal low involvement was associated with ADHD regardless of subtype, even with ODD and CD covaried; however, the effect was marginal when paternal ADHD was covaried. In dimensional analysis of symptom counts, maternal inconsistent discipline was related to all behavior domains but none uniquely. Paternal low involvement and inconsistent discipline were related uniquely with child inattention and not other behavioral domains. Conclusions: Specific aspects of parenting are related to ADHD apart from ODD or CD and are not fully attributable to parental ADHD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-154
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • ADHD
  • Family environment
  • Parenting
  • Symptom domains

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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