SRCD 2019 Biennial Conference
March 21-23, 2019
Title: The Association between Self-Regulation and ADHD Symptoms and First Grade Reading Outcomes (Poster)
Session: Attention, Learning, Memory
Authors: Stephanie Day, Carol Connor
Abstract: Self-regulation has commonly been said to be a core deficit in ADHD (Barkley et al., 1990; Harris et al., 2004). Although a large body of research has previously examined self-regulation as a predictor of achievement in secondary and college students, much less is known about how children’s self-regulation and ADHD relate to each other and how they operate in early elementary classrooms to predict literacy outcomes in younger children (Zimmerman, 1994). Further, few studies have examined the differences between teacher reported ADHD symptoms versus direct measures of these skills in regards to their relation to reading achievement. The purpose of this study was to examine whether there is a systematic association between children’s level of self-regulation and reported symptoms of ADHD and the relation between children’s literacy skills and their performance on these assessments.
Children’s self-regulation skills were assessed twice during the school year using a direct measure of self-regulation, the Head Toes Knees Shoulder Task (HTKS)(N=244). Students’ ADHD symptoms were measured using the Conners’ Rating Scale, which the teachers completed in the spring. Sub-tests from The Woodcock Johnson Achievement Tests-III were utilized to measure children’s reading skills in decoding, vocabulary, and reading comprehension two times during the school year.
Preliminary examination of correlations revealed that the Conners’ Rating Scale was not correlated with any reading measures nor was it correlated with the HTKS. Hierarchical linear modeling revealed that students’ symptoms of hyperactivity and inattention as rated by their teachers was not related to reading comprehension, however fall HTKS significantly predicted gains in comprehension in the spring. The Conners’ was not directly related to decoding, however, the HTKS task directly predicted gains in decoding. An interaction revealed that teachers who rated their students as having more inattention problems and who demonstrated higher self-regulation skills actually made greater gains in decoding in the spring (Table 1).
When examining growth in self-regulation, students who started the school year with higher self-regulation and whose teachers rated them as having more hyperactivity also had the greatest growth in self-regulation skills (Figure 1). This may indicate that teachers provided additional scaffolding to these students which may have impacted their self-regulation, which in turn, also led to better reading growth. These findings can have important implications for the way in which these skills are measured in a school setting and it may be that more direct measures of self-regulation are more appropriate to use in schools and may also be more predicative of reading achievement. These results also imply that self-regulation and ADHD may be two separate and unique constructs.