Executive Functioning and Parenting in Mothers of Children with and without ADHD
Mazursky-Horowitz, Heather Michelle
MetadataShow full item record
Parental scaffolding robustly predicts child developmental outcomes, including improved self-regulation and peer relationships, and fewer externalizing behaviors. However, few studies have examined parental characteristics associated with a parent’s ability to scaffold. Executive functioning (EF) may be an important individual difference factor associated with parental scaffolding. Yet, no research has examined parental EF in relation to scaffolding. Scaffolding may be particularly important for children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) due in part to their core difficulties with inattention, disorganization, EF, and self-regulation, and the resulting need for greater structure, supervision, and consistency from parents. Moreover, parents of children with ADHD may experience greater challenges with scaffolding, both as a result of having a child with ADHD and their own increased risk for EF deficits. Yet, little research has examined child ADHD in relation to parental scaffolding. This study extends the extant literature on EF and parenting by examining individual difference factors associated with maternal scaffolding, and utilizing a multi-method assessment of maternal EF that may more effectively tap specific EF deficits associated with scaffolding. The current study aimed to examine: (1) the association between maternal EF and scaffolding, (2) the association between child ADHD symptoms and scaffolding, and (3) the interaction between child ADHD symptoms and maternal EF in predicting observed scaffolding. We hypothesized that deficits in maternal EF and child ADHD symptoms would each be negatively associated with observed scaffolding, and that child ADHD symptoms would interact with maternal EF deficits to predict the greatest deficits in observed maternal scaffolding. Results partially supported our hypotheses, in that some aspects of maternal EF, as measured by Digit Span and the Hotel Test, were predictive of observed maternal scaffolding. However, child ADHD symptoms did not significantly predict maternal scaffolding after controlling for child age, maternal education, and maternal EF; nor did the interaction of maternal EF and child ADHD symptoms. Working memory and task shifting may therefore be key components of parental EF that could be targeted in interventions designed to improve parental scaffolding.