Self-perception in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Catarina Maia, Micaela Guardiano, Victor Viana, J Paulo Almeida, Maria Júlia Guimarães


The Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder reflected by significant deficits in multiple domains, interfering with the self-perception and self-esteem of children. However, international studies that assess the relationship between ADHD and self-perception have come to contradictory results, and, in Portugal, this is still a little investigated subject. The present work aims to assess the self-perception in different areas (scholastic competence, athletic competence, physical appearance, behaviour and social acceptance) in children with ADHD, comparing them with a control group. This study also tries to analyze whether the subtype of ADHD could interfere differently with the self-perception. We studied 43 children who had a clinical diagnosis of ADHD and 59 children without this diagnosis. Children with ADHD were divided into different subtypes in view of the revised Conners Scales (Portuguese version). The children completed the Self-Perception Profile for Children. From the analysis of averages comparison, it was found that the group of children with ADHD showed lower values in the different domains of self-perception, with a statistically significant difference in scholastic and behaviour self-perceptions. Regarding the different subtypes of ADHD, the results were not statistically significant, but indicated that children perceive themselves differently depending on the subtype. This discrepancy was most evident in scholastic competence where children predominantly inattentive considered themselves less able than the others. In this study, as in the international literature, children with ADHD have an scholastic and behavioural self-perception statistically inferior to other children of the same age, needing every possible support for a healthy emotional development.

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