A new study has found that parental criticism may increase ADHD symptoms in children by the time they are teens.
The study was published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. Researchers examined 388 children with ADHD and their families over a period of three years. Levels of criticism and overpretection were assessed on two occasions one year apart.
Parents were asked to talk about their interactions with their children. The experts rated the criticism by counting harsh and negative statements parents made about the child, instead of the child’s behavior. Researchers measured overprotectiveness by evaluating levels of emotional involvement.
Results showed that constant parent criticism was the only trait associated with ongoing ADHD symptoms into the teen years.
“The [new] finding here is that children with ADHD whose families continued to express high levels of criticism over time failed to experience the usual decline in symptoms with age, and instead maintained persistent, high levels of ADHD symptoms,” said lead author Erica Musser, an assistant professor of psychology at Florida International University in Miami.