Recognition of Facial Affect in Adults with Attention Problems




Fields, Alicia

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Numerous researchers have found that individuals with ADHD tend to have more interpersonal difficulties than those without the disorder. However, it is unclear why. A study by Rapport et al. (2002) may have provided a clue by discovering that adults with ADHD were less accurate when interpreting facial emotional expressions. The present study sought to corroborate the findings by Rapport et al. (2002) with a non-clinical sample and to extend those findings by examining the relationship between facial affect recognition, reported relationship satisfaction, and communication competence. A convenience sample of 128 undergraduates at George Mason University was separated into two groups, one with relatively elevated scores on the Conners' Adult ADHD Rating Scale, Self-Report Screening Version (CAARS-S:SV; T-scores of 60 or greater) and a group with relatively lower scores on the CAARS-S:SV (T-scores ≤59). No group differences were found in the performance accuracy or the reaction times on a facial affect recognition task and a face labeling control task. The first group reported more depression, anxiety and less life satisfaction than the second or comparison group. Secondary analyses performed with a subset of participants from the ADHD group who had clinically significant CAARS-S:SV T scores (n = 25; T-score ≥ 65) indicated that when they were compared to the comparison group and the participants with subclinical symptoms of ADHD, these participants demonstrated deficits in affect recognition for the emotions happy and sad. In addition, the Clinical group had statistically significantly higher depression and anxiety scores, and reported lower life satisfaction and interpersonal communication competence when compared with participants who reported subclinical symptoms.



Affect, Attention, Adult, AdHd, Facial