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Fathers' Impact on ADHD

A father's involvement influences his ADHD child's behavior.

As Kilcarr and Quinn write,

"Fathers of children with ADHD have a special calling: to stand with their children in their emotional or behavioral difficulties, to support them when they seem to be slipping emotionally or behaviorally, and to give their children hope, courage, and the opportunity to define themselves by their strengths rather than their weaknesses."

- Kilcarr and Quinn, 2013, p. 2

What paternal traits help reduce problematic behaviors in children with ADHD? While many studies look at the maternal relationship of children with ADHD, there are not as many studies about the influence of fathers on ADHD symptoms.

However, studies have found that fathers have a big impact on behavior issues of children with ADHD.

According to a study by van den Hoofdakker et al. (2014) regarding parent behavior training, fathers with ADHD and fathers with parenting self-efficacy (feeling like you can parent successfully) had decreased behavior problems with their children.

In a study by Williamson and Johnston (2015), a father's attributions (causes of behavior) about his child's behavior was found to be an essential part of predicting the future behavior of children with ADHD. In fact, the study found that fathers' attributions was even more predictive of future behavior than the mothers' attributions.

Another study by Chang et al. (2013), found that how a father acts towards his ADHD child has a great impact on the child's behavior at home and the child's perceived level of family support.

Fathers' behavior towards their child makes a big difference in the child's behavior - and that influence appears to be even greater in children with ADHD.


Chang, L.-R., Chiu, Y.-N., Wu, Y.-Y., & Gau, S. S.-F. (2013). Father’s parenting and father–child relationship among children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 54(2), 128–140. doi:

Kilcarr, P., & Quinn, P. (2013). Voices From Fatherhood: Fathers, Sons & ADHD. Routledge: New York.

Van den Hoofdakker, B., Hoekstra, P., van der Veen-Mulders, L., Sytema, S., Emmelkamp, P. G., Minderaa, R., & Nauta, M. (2014). Paternal influences on treatment outcome of behavioral parent training in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 23(11), 1071–1079. doi:10.1007/s00787-014-0557-4

Williamson, D., & Johnston, C. (2014). Maternal and Paternal Attributions in the Prediction of Boys’ Behavior Problems Across Time. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 44(4), 668–675. doi:10.1080/15374416.2013.862803

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