Date of Award

8-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Jennifer Bolden

Committee Members

Elizabeth I. Johnson, Jacob J. Levy, Todd M. Moore

Abstract

Despite separate literatures linking attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms and executive functions to social competence, no study has examined the simultaneous relationship of these two processes in adults. Beauchamp and Anderson (2010) propose the Socio-Cognitive Integration of Abilities (SOCIAL) model a biopsychosocial model as an explanation for the development of social competence. Given the patterns of social and neurological development in ADHD, it may be consistent with the SOCIAL model. Subcomponents of Beauchamp and Anderson’s (2010) SOCIAL model were utilized to examine the extent to which attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptom severity moderated the relationship between executive function (EF) and social competence (Question 1) and the relationship between central executive (CE) functioning, a specific EF domain, and social competence (Question 2) in undergraduates (n = 48). Intercorrelations revealed a significant negative correlation between EF and social competence (rs = -.30) ratings and a significant positive correlation between EF and ADHD symptom severity (rs =.83) ratings. The relationship between EF and social competence, however, was neither strengthened nor weakened by ADHD symptom severity. Additionally, ADHD symptom severity did not moderate the relationship between CE functioning and social competence. Findings suggest that EF may influence social competence in undergraduates in a manner not examined in this study. Further research incorporating all components of the model is needed to determine if ADHD is consistent with the SOCIAL model.

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