Adolescents' ADHD symptoms and adjustment: The role of attachment and rejection sensitivity

Miri Scharf, Assaf Oshri, Varda Eshkol, Tammy Pilowsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The associations between attachment style, ADHD symptoms, and social adjustments were examined in a community sample of adolescents. Five hundred and eight junior high school students completed questionnaires pertaining to attachment style, ADHD symptoms (inattention and hyperactivity), and rejection sensitivity, and were rated by homeroom teachers on social adjustment. Analyses supported a 3-profile pattern of attachment styles: secure, dismissing, and preoccupied. The 3 attachment profiles showed differential risk on adolescents' social adjustment, as well as on ADHD symptoms. The secure profile showed the most adaptive outcomes on all of the examined adjustment outcomes, compared with the other 2 profiles. In contrast, the preoccupied attachment profile showed the highest levels of ADHD problems, angry and anxious expectations, while displaying a similar level of maladjustment to the dismissing profile. In addition, structural equation modeling was used and supported a model that tested an indirect link between attachment security and adolescent adjustment via an ADHD latent factor. Findings suggest that clinicians and educators should pay attention to relational patterns (attachment styles) in adolescence, as these may serve as a developmental precursor for ADHD and a range of adjustment problems in school.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-217
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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