Conflict of interest statement: No conflicts declared.
Child ADHD and personality/temperament traits of reactive and effortful control, resiliency, and emotionality
Article first published online: 9 JUN 2006
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume 47, Issue 11, pages 1175–1183, November 2006
How to Cite
Martel, M. M. and Nigg, J. T. (2006), Child ADHD and personality/temperament traits of reactive and effortful control, resiliency, and emotionality. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47: 1175–1183. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2006.01629.x
- Issue published online: 9 JUN 2006
- Article first published online: 9 JUN 2006
- Manuscript accepted 30 January 2006
Background: Models of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) suggest developmental influences may feed into components of the disorder separately from associated disruptive behavior problems. We investigated this in terms of key personality/temperament traits of Reactive and Effortful Control, Resiliency, and Emotionality.
Methods: A sample of 179 children (age 6–12, 63% boys), of whom 92 had ADHD, 52 were Controls, and 35 were borderline or not otherwise specified cases of ADHD, were examined. Dispositional trait scores were derived from parent-completed California Q-sort and the Early Adolescent Temperament Questionnaire. Child ADHD symptoms were evaluated using maternal structured diagnostic interview and teacher-completed symptom ratings.
Results: Traits were differentially associated with symptoms. Reactive Control was related to hyperactivity-impulsivity as rated by both parents and teachers. Negative Emotionality was related to oppositional-defiance. Resiliency was primarily related to inattention-disorganization as rated by both parents and teachers; Effortful Control was related uniquely to inattention in parent but not teacher data. A moderation effect emerged; the relationship between parent-rated Negative Emotionality and teacher-rated ADHD symptoms was stronger for children with high levels of both Reactive and Effortful Control.
Conclusions: Results are interpreted in relation to a two-pathway model of ADHD; regulation problems contribute to the emergence of symptoms of inattention-disorganization, reactive or motivational control problems to the emergence of hyperactivity-impulsivity, and these are distinct from negative affectivity. Children with regulation deficits and a reactive motivational style are especially at risk for the development of ADHD.