Parents' reactions to youths' hyperactivity, impulsivity, and attention problems

J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2011 Nov;39(8):1125-35. doi: 10.1007/s10802-011-9541-3.


Hyperactivity, impulsivity, and attention problems (HIA) in children and adolescents are stressful for parents. In this study, we used theories of parents' perceived power and attributions for youths' behaviors to develop a model to understand parents' reactions to their youths' HIA. We followed 706 youths (376 boys and 330 girls, aged 10-12 years at T1) and their parents in a community-based project over 5 years. Measures of youths' HIA, youths' unresponsiveness to correction, parents' feelings of powerlessness, parental monitoring, and parents' negative behaviors toward their youths, were used. HIA in youths predicted increases in parents' perceptions that their youths were unresponsive to correction, which in turn prompted parents to feel more powerless over time. Further, parents' feelings of powerlessness were associated with increases in negative parenting behaviors over time. These results indicate a movement to more negative parenting practices over time as a result of youths' HIA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attention
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology*
  • Attention Deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / psychology
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / psychology*
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parenting / psychology
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Power, Psychological
  • Psychomotor Agitation / psychology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires