Effects of Peer Relationships and Attitudes towards School on Academic Achievement within an ADHD Population

Open Access
Moore, Whitney Elizabeth
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Cynthia L Huang Pollock, Thesis Supervisor
  • Rick R Jacobs, Honors Advisor
  • ADHD
  • academic achievement
  • peer relationships
  • attitudes towards school
Objective: ADHD is often associated with poor peer relationship quality, negative attitudes towards school, and lower academic achievement. Poor peer relationship quality has been associated with lower academic achievement, but this relationship has not been exclusively studied within an ADHD population. The purpose of this study will be to examine the association of peer relationships with academic achievement and determine if attitudes towards school has an influence on this relationship within and ADHD population. Methods: Children with and without ADHD completed assessments of Math, Spelling, and Reading achievement and self-reported their attitudes towards school. Teachers completed questionnaires regarding their students’ peer relationship quality. Results: Children with ADHD performed worse on academic achievement assessments, reported more negative attitudes towards school, and had lower peer relationship quality based on teacher report. Peer relationship quality did not directly predict academic achievement. However, attitudes towards school partially explained the relationship between ADHD status and Math achievement. Peer relationship quality also partially explained the relationship between ADHD status and attitudes towards school. Conclusion: These findings suggest that lower academic achievement in children with ADHD is not solely the result of cognitive deficits. Lower academic achievement is attributed to social components of the disorder, specifically poor peer relationship quality and attitudes towards school.