Coping strategies among adults with ADHD: The mediational role of attachment relationship patterns

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Abstract

Background: For adults with attention/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), research is scarce on their coping with stress (despite studies demonstrating other self-regulation deficits) and their attachment patterns (despite rare research in younger persons with ADHD showing high vulnerability to insecure attachments). Attachment was linked with coping and self-regulation in general populations but not yet in ADHD. This study explored the possible mediational role of attachment patterns in explaining associations between adults’ ADHD symptoms and dysregulated coping. Methods: Participants comprised 62 adults (32 females, 30 males) ages 21–40 years (M = 27.60, SD = 4.80) in two groups: 31 adults with formally diagnosed ADHD and 31 demographically matched adults without ADHD. Instruments included computerized neuropsychological tests (sustained/executive attention) and self-reports (ADHD, coping, attachment). Results: Disorder status was verified via ADHD-symptom self-reports and computerized testing. Preliminary analyses revealed significant intergroup differences on coping strategies and attachment. PROCESS analyses (Hayes, 2013) pinpointed attachment measures’ mediating role (especially attachment anxiety) regarding ADHD's association with coping. Conclusions: Significantly more maladaptive attachment and coping outcomes emerged for adults with ADHD than controls. Attachment insecurity's role in mediating ADHD's association with coping was partially supported. Possible unique adaptive value of attachment relationships was discussed for coping with stressors in adulthood with ADHD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103657
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Volume102
DOIs
StatePublished - 22 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • ADHD
  • Adults
  • Attachment anxiety
  • Attachment avoidance
  • Coping strategies
  • Mediator

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