Objective: Western literature documents impaired father-child interactions in addition to strong evidence of impaired mother-child interactions in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, the parenting process of fathers and their engagement in the Asian family with children with ADHD remain unexplored. The authors compared fathering and father-child relationships between children with ADHD and those without ADHD and identified the correlates of these paternal measures.
Methods: Fathering and father-child relationships were compared between 296 children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and 229 children without ADHD in Taiwan. All child participants and their parents received psychiatric interviews for the diagnosis of ADHD and other psychiatric disorders of the children, and their fathers were assessed for ADHD, anxiety and depressive symptoms. Both the fathers and children reported on the father's parenting style, father-child interactions, behavioral problems at home, and perceived family support.
Results: The results showed that children with ADHD received less affection/care and more overprotection and authoritarian control from their fathers. They had less active interactions with their fathers, more severe behavioral problems at home; and perceived less family support than children without ADHD. Correlates for impaired father-child interactions included childhood ADHD symptoms, any comorbidity, age at assessment, and the father's neurotic personality and depressive symptoms. In addition, the children reported more negatively on fathering and father-child interactions than the fathers.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest the negative impacts of ADHD on the father's parenting style and father-child interactions. Clinical interventions aimed at improving father-child interactions warrant more attention.
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