The Unique Effects of Maternal ADHD Symptoms and Emotion Dysregulation on Parenting Behavior

The Unique Effects of Maternal ADHD Symptoms and Emotion Dysregulation on Parenting Behavior

Kelsey E. Woods, Heather Mazursky-Horowitz, Sharon R. Thomas, Lea R. Dougherty, Andrea Chronis-Tuscano


Commentary* by Dr. Margaret Weiss: Maternal emotional regulation needs to be an important focus of parent training.



Objective: Separate literatures have examined the associations between maternal ADHD symptoms and parenting and maternal emotion regulation (ER) and parenting. This study examined the effects of both maternal ADHD symptoms and ER on parenting.

Method: This cross-sectional study used a multi-method evaluation of parenting behavior to examine the independent and interactive effects of maternal ADHD symptoms and ER on self-reported and observed parenting among 79 demographically diverse families of 5- to 10-year-old children.

Results: There were significant main effects of maternal ER difficulties on negative parenting and of maternal ADHD symptoms on harsh responses to children’s negative emotions. Maternal ADHD symptoms and ER were not significantly associated with positive parenting behavior. No interaction effects were observed.

Conclusion: Maternal ADHD symptoms and emotion dysregulation may uniquely contribute to parenting difficulties. Maternal ADHD symptoms were associated with difficulties responding to children’s negative emotions, whereas maternal ER was associated with difficulties with discipline practices.


* Abstracts are selected for their clinical relevance by Dr. Margaret Weiss, Director of Clinical Research, Child Psychiatry, Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard University. Her commentary reflects her own opinion.  It is not approved or necessarily representative of the CADDRA board.


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