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The relationship between emotional regulation and social performance deficits in children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder

13 December 1996


The role of an emotional component in the theory and treatment of social performance deficits of children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is examined. Current theories on the social difficulties of ADHD children focus on cognitive-behavioral aspects of the problem. Research indicates that traditional social skills training programs based on such theories have not been effective (Abikoff, 1985). In order to provide a more complete theory of the social performance deficits of ADHD children, Barkley's (1990) most recent conceptualization of the disorder as a motivational deficit is integrated with Buck's (1991) developmental-interactionist view of social skills, which stresses the importance of emotional competence. A literature review on the relationship of emotional regulation to social competence supports the integrated theory. The importance of an emotional component in conceptualizing the social difficulties of ADHD children points to new research and treatment directions that are less skills focused and more performance-focused.


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