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Comparative Study
. 2018 Nov;22(13):1266-1277.
doi: 10.1177/1087054714561290. Epub 2014 Dec 18.

Maternal ADHD Symptoms, Personality, and Parenting Stress: Differences Between Mothers of Children With ADHD and Mothers of Comparison Children

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Free PMC article
Comparative Study

Maternal ADHD Symptoms, Personality, and Parenting Stress: Differences Between Mothers of Children With ADHD and Mothers of Comparison Children

Guillermo Perez Algorta et al. J Atten Disord. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Objective: Mothers raising a child with ADHD can experience high parenting stress. We evaluated if mothers' personality traits and own ADHD symptoms could also affect parenting stress.

Method: 430 biological mothers from the Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD (MTA mothers) and 237 of a local normative comparison group (LNCG mothers) were evaluated at baseline. Interactions were tested between mothers' group and maternal personality/ADHD symptoms related to parenting stress.

Results: Compared to LNCG, MTA mothers had higher parenting stress, self-reported ADHD, neuroticism, and lower conscientiousness and agreeableness. When personality and ADHD were evaluated together, ADHD symptoms interacted with mothers' group: high maternal ADHD was positively associated with parenting stress for LNCG but not MTA mothers.

Conclusion: Personality traits or ADHD characteristics do not appear operative for the high parenting stress of mothers of a child with ADHD. However, high maternal ADHD or low conscientiousness are associated with stress levels similar to raising a child with ADHD.

Keywords: ADHD; parenting; personality; stress.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
The relationship between maternal level of conscientiousness and parenting stress in the MTA and LNCG samples. Conscientiousness (x axis) was centered on the pooled sample mean. Conscientiousness protects against parenting stress for LNCG mothers, who do not have a child with ADHD, but not for MTA mothers, who have a childwith ADHD. The diverging lines suggest that having a child with ADHD neutralizes the protective effect of conscientiousness against parenting stress. Estimate intercept differences between groups at different levels of conscientiousness (pooled −2SD, −1SD, Mean, +1SD and +2SD) are offered with their respective 95% CI in the right panel. The dark dots represent sample means for the MTA group (upper left) and the LNCG (lower right).
Figure 2
Figure 2
The relationship between maternal ADHD index level and parenting stress in the MTA and LNCG samples. CAARS ADHD index level was centered on the pooled sample mean (x axis = 0). The convergence of lines suggests that having a child with ADHD or the mother having ADHD herself has similar effects on the level of parenting stress. Estimate intercept differences between groups at different levels of CAARS ADHD Index (pooled −1SD, Mean, +1SD and +2SD) are offered with their respective 95% CI in the right panel. Black dots represent PSI composite and CAARS ADHD index sample means for LNCG lower (left) and MTA (upper right). X axis values are raw CAARS ADHD index scores.

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