Can children with ADHD be motivated to reduce bias in self-reports of competence?

Betsy Hoza, Aaron Vaughn, Daniel A. Waschbusch, Dianna Murray-Close, George McCabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Objective: Our purpose in the current study was to examine whether children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and comparison children, if adequately motivated, are able to purposefully match their teachers' ratings of competence in multiple domains and whether any reductions in self-perceptual bias normalize self-views in relation to comparison children's self-perceptions. Method: Participants included children with ADHD (n = 178) and comparison children (n = 86), between 7 and 12 years of age. The majority of participants were Caucasian (81.4%) and male (77.3%). Primary measures included the Self-Perception Profile for Children (SPPC; Harter, 1985), which was administered during a baseline assessment. In a subsequent session, children completed the SPPC twice more following instructions to first attempt to match their teachers' ratings of competence and then following the offer of an incentive for matching their teachers' ratings. Repeated measures analyses of covariance were conducted with between-and within-subjects factors. Results: Significant reductions in 2 of 3 domains (scholastic, behavioral conduct) were found for children with ADHD. No reductions were found across domains for comparison children or in the social domain for children with ADHD. Across conditions, the amount of bias exhibited by children with ADHD was never normalized in relation to comparison children's ratings. Conclusions: Explicit instructions to match teacher ratings of competence and implementation of incentives were only partially effective in reducing the biased self-perceptions of children with ADHD. Results suggest that children with ADHD, on average, cannot view themselves in a completely unbiased fashion, rather than that they will not do so, although self-protection clearly plays a partial role.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-254
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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