Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Psychological and Brain Sciences

Degree Program

Clinical Psychology, PhD

Committee Chair

Rosen, Paul

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Walter, Bernadette

Committee Member

Walter, Bernadette

Committee Member

Buffered, Sara

Committee Member

Depue, Brendan

Committee Member

Pössel, Patrick

Author's Keywords

ADHD; aggression; aggressive behavior; emotion dysregulation; parenting; impulsivity


Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) exhibit greater levels of aggressive behavior than their typically developing peers, often resulting in impairment in social and family functioning. Aggressive behavior is often differentiated into two functions: reactive, or “hot-blooded” and proactive, or “cold-blooded” aggression. Prior research has identified several factors contributing to aggressive behavior within a general population, including emotion dysregulation, negative urgency, social information processing (SIP), and parenting behaviors. A paucity of research has examined these factors within an ADHD population. Thus, the present study aimed to examine social, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive factors associated with aggression among children with ADHD. Specifically, the present study investigated the independent and combined roles of emotion dysregulation and negative urgency in reactive aggression as well as the independent and interactive roles of SIP and parenting behaviors in proactive aggression. Participants included 28 children with ADHD and their parents. Participants, their parents, and their teachers completed questionnaires to assess emotion dysregulation, negative urgency, aggressive behavior, and parenting behaviors. Parents completed a diagnostic interview to confirm ADHD diagnostic status. Children completed one task to assess aggression and responded to social vignettes to assess social information processing. Of note, the data collection was prematurely discontinued due to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic; therefore, results of the present study should be interpreted with caution due to low power. Hypothesis 1 was partially supported, such that emotion dysregulation significantly estimated reactive aggression regardless of reporter. Further, negative urgency significantly estimated reactive aggression when reported by parents, but not by teachers. Contrary to hypothesis 2, SIP did not significantly estimate proactive aggression, and no interaction between SIP and parenting behaviors was observed. However, inconsistent discipline did significantly estimate proactive aggression suggesting learning history and environment play an important role in proactive aggression. Finally, contrary to hypothesis 3, no indirect effect of emotion dysregulation on reactive aggression through negative urgency were observed; however, these results are inconclusive due to low power. Findings of the present results have significant implications for the way in which aggression is conceptualized, as well as clinical implications for the treatment of aggressive behavior among children with ADHD.