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Help Parents Address ADHD

Professor of Psychology Steven Evans, left, nominated Ohio University graduate student Raisa Ray, right, for the Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award from the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools. They are sitting on a campus bench.

Professor of Psychology Steven Evans, left, nominated Ohio University graduate student Raisa Ray, right, for the Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award from the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools. Photo credit: Ben Siegel, Ohio University.

Find a Buffer Against Negative Risk Factors

Ohio University graduate student Raisa Ray’s studies how parents and educators can help children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral problems to succeed academically and socially.

She received the 2017 Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools/Pro Quest Distinguished Master's Thesis Award for her work on the factors that help or hinder the social functioning of adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

For her thesis project, Ray studied 324 middle school youth with ADHD, some of whom had healthy social functioning and others who did not, as rated by the youth and their parents. She found that youth participation in team or individual hobbies, sports or other such activities buffered against the negative effects of risk factors—such as teen conduct problems, youth depressive symptoms and negative parenting—on adolescent social functioning.

This finding is important, Evans noted, as parents can be quick to withdraw children with ADHD from group activities because of the likelihood or fear of behavioral problems and disruption. Ray’s research suggests that it could be beneficial to keep such adolescents involved in social activities.

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