Sustained impact of inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity on peer problems: Mediating roles of prosocial skills and conduct problems in a community sample of children.


This prospective 2-year longitudinal study tested whether inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptom dimensions predicted future peer problems, when accounting for concurrent conduct problems and prosocial skills. A community sample of 492 children (49 % female) who ranged in age from 6 to 10 years (M = 8.6, SD = .93) was recruited. Teacher reports of children’s inattention, and hyperactivity/impulsivity symptoms, conduct problems, prosocial skills and peer problems were collected in two consecutive school years. Elevated inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity in Year-1 predicted greater peer problems in Year-2. Conduct problems in the first and second years of the study were associated with more peer problems, and explained a portion of the relationship between inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity with peer problems. However, prosocial skills were associated with fewer peer problems in children with elevated inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity. Inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity have negative effects on children’s peer functioning after 1-year, but concurrent conduct problems and prosocial skills have important and opposing impacts on these associations.