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J Consult Clin Psychol. 2000 Apr;68(2):313-321. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.68.2.313.

Self-regulation of affect in attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and non-ADHD boys: differences in empathic responding.

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Massachusetts General Hosp.


This study examined differences in empathy and other emotions between boys with and without attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Empathy was measured by an empathy response task (ERT) and through self- and parent reports of emotion. On the ERT, children responded verbally to 8 fictitious stories. Results from the ERT revealed that boys with ADHD were less empathic than boys without ADHD. Boys with ADHD less frequently matched the emotion they identified in the character with the one identified in themselves and gave fewer character-centered interpretations in their descriptions of the character's emotion. Parent-report data revealed that boys with ADHD exhibited more behavioral manifestations of sadness, anger, and guilt than did boys without ADHD. No differences were found, however, on measures of emotional intensity or emotional reactions to external contingencies. The results are discussed with respect to current theories of ADHD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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