Are the Performance Overestimates Given by Boys With ADHD Self-Protective?

Jeneva L. Ohan, Charlotte Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


Tested the self-protective hypothesis that boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) overestimate their performance to protect a positive self-image. We examined the impact of performance feedback on the social and academic performance self-perceptions of 45 boys with and 43 boys without ADHD ages 7 to 12. Consistent with the self-protective hypothesis, positive feedback led to increases in social performance estimates in boys without ADHD but to decreases in estimates given by boys with ADHD. This suggests that boys with ADHD can give more realistic self-appraisals when their self-image has been bolstered. In addition, social performance estimates in boys with ADHD were correlated with measures of self-esteem and positive presentation bias. In contrast, for academic performance estimates, boys in both groups increased their performance estimates after receiving positive versus average or no feedback, and estimates were not correlated with self-esteem or social desirability for boys with ADHD. We conclude that the self-protective hypothesis can account for social performance overestimations given by boys with ADHD but that other factors may better account for their academic performance overestimates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-241
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002
Externally publishedYes


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