Date of Award

Summer 8-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Committee Chair

Dr. Tammy Barry

Committee Chair Department

Psychology

Committee Member 2

Dr. Christopher Barry

Committee Member 2 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 3

Dr. Robert Lyman

Committee Member 4

Dr. Gilbert Parra

Abstract

Very few studies have examined adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and relationship satisfaction. The current study focused on ADHD symptoms, social communication skills, and relationship satisfaction. Based on previous research that provides evidence that individuals with ADHD tend to have more difficulty with both receptive and expressive social communication skills as well as the large amount of evidence that communication is a key component to relationship satisfaction, it was expected that higher ADHD symptoms in one partner of a romantic dyad would relate to less relationship satisfaction. Furthermore, because ADHD is associated with a positive illusory bias (PIB), it was also predicted that couples may experience less satisfaction through partner discrepancy and that an individual’s lower motivation to improve impacted social communication skills. The sample for the current study consisted of 75 couples. First, the study examined whether the relation between target and partner relationship satisfaction was attenuated by targets’ ADHD symptoms. The study also examined whether targets’ ADHD symptoms were negatively correlated with target and partner relationship satisfaction—as well as positively correlated with a discrepancy between targets’ self-ratings and partners’ ratings of targets’ social communication skills—through partial correlations. Finally, mediational analyses for indirect effects were conducted to examine if partners’ ratings of targets’ social communication skills (or the discrepancy between targets’ self-ratings and partners’ ratings of targets’ social communication skills) would mediate the relation found between targets’ ADHD symptoms and relationship satisfaction. The hypotheses proposed were mostly unsupported. However, there was some evidence for a significant negative correlation between targets’ ADHD symptoms and their partner’s relationship satisfaction.

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