ADHD Symptoms and Educational Level in Adolescents: The Role of the Family, Teachers, and Peers

Heiko Schmengler*, Margot Peeters, Gonneke W J M Stevens, Catharina A Hartman, Albertine J Oldehinkel, Wilma A M Vollebergh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Few studies have explored the contribution of family and school factors to the association between ADHD symptoms and lower education. Possibly, having more ADHD symptoms contributes to poorer family functioning and less social support, and consequently a lower educational level (i.e., mediation). Moreover, the negative effects of ADHD symptoms on education may be stronger for adolescents with poorer family functioning or less social support (i.e., interaction). Using data of the Dutch TRAILS Study (N = 2,229), we evaluated associations between ADHD symptoms around age 11 and educational level around age 14, as well as between ADHD symptoms around age 14 and 16 years and subsequent changes in educational level around age 16 and 19, respectively. We assessed the potential mediating role of family functioning, and social support by teachers and classmates, all measured around ages 11, 14, and 16, while additionally evaluating interactions between ADHD symptoms and these hypothesized mediators. ADHD symptoms were associated with poorer family functioning, less social support by teachers and classmates, and lower education throughout adolescence. No conclusive evidence of mediation was found, because unique associations between family functioning and social support by teachers and classmates and education were largely absent. Furthermore, we found no interactions between ADHD symptoms and family functioning and social support by teachers and classmates. Although social support by teachers and classmates and good family functioning may benefit the wellbeing and mental health of adolescents with high levels of ADHD symptoms, they will not necessarily improve their educational attainment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1051–1066
Number of pages16
JournalResearch on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology
Volume51
Early online date23-Mar-2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2023

Cite this