Peer rejection is a core difficulty experienced by children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that is associated with both concurrent and long-term maladjustment. The social goals endorsed by children with ADHD, have been proposed as being among the factors contributing to their relational difficulties. Although previous investigations have examined the social goals selected by ADHD-diagnosed children and their relationship to social status, no studies to date have examined the impact of task variables on the social goals they select or whether the relationship between their social goals and sociometric status is task dependent. This archival study compared the social goals and sociometric status of 29 ADHD-diagnosed boys who exhibit peer problems with 22 Comparison boys. Participants, who ranged in age from 6 to 11 years, were randomly assigned to dyads comprising a boy with ADHD and an unfamiliar Comparison boy. Dyads interacted in the context of either a cooperatively-oriented video game or a competitively-oriented card game. Data pertaining to social goals and sociometric status were collected through brief pre- and post-play interviews conducted individually with each participant. ADHD and Comparison boys were not found to differ with respect to their social goal ratings but did demonstrate an overall difference in the patterning of how they ranked social goals. Boys with ADHD and their non-diagnosed peers were further found to differ in their peer status, with the Comparison boys being rated as significantly more desirable as potential friends even after a brief period of interaction. However, peer status was not found to be related to social goals for either ADHD or Comparison boys. Although the task variable was found to have a significant effect on participants' social goals rankings, the specific predictions made with respect to which goals would be more highly ranked in each game were generally not supported. Finally, the results failed to support the hypothesis that the nature of the task would moderate the link between social goals and peer status. Limitations and clinical implications of the findings are discussed along with recommendations for future research pertaining to social cognition and peer status among youth with ADHD.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder; Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Erhardt, Drew;