Journal of Attention Disorders Thesis


Journal of Attention Disorders 2017, Vol. 21(4) 316 –322 © The Author(s) 2014 Reprints and permissions: DOI: 10.1177/1087054714530782


ADHD is one of the most common childhood neuropsychological disorders, causing difficulties in academic, social, emotional, and behavioral domains (Barkley, 1990; LeFever, Villers, & Morrow, 2002; Pelham & Bender, 1982).

Due to these problems, it was previously assumed that children with ADHD would have lower self-confidence than those without (Hoza & Pelham, 1995; Slomkowski, Klein, & Mannuzza, 1995; Treuting & Hinshaw, 2001).

However, researchers have recently dis- covered that children and adults with ADHD actually appear to have a positive illusory bias (PIB) toward themselves, meaning that they tend to rate themselves as higher functioning in social and academic situations than teachers, parents, and peers rate them (see Owens, Goldfine, Evangelista, Hoza, & Kaiser, 2007, for review).

Similarly, when comparing objective measures of these domains with their self-reports, ADHD children’s self-perception is usually an overestimation of their actual performance (Hoza et al., 2000; Hoza et al., 2001; Manor et al., 2012).

This phenomenon has been found in both genders (Hoza et al., 2004) and different ADHD subtypes (Swanson, Owens, & Hinshaw, 2012), and does not seem to improve in children who have received stimulant medication (Ialongo et al., 1994) and extensive behavioral therapy (Hoza et al., 2004).

There is much dispute as to whether these positive illusions are adaptive or maladaptive in ADHD. Some studies hypothesize that this positive illusion may be a protective strategy to help individuals persist during challenges and overcome frequent failures or setbacks (Diener & Milich, 1997; Hoza et al., 2004; Taylor & Brown, 1988).

Contrary to this notion though, ADHD children with PIBs still have decreased motivation, persistence, and overall task performance compared with those without the disorder (Owens et al., 2007).

Similarly, others argue that the positive illusions may be caused by cognitive immaturity (Milich, 1994), and will lead to poorer social skills and increased risk for negative outcomes later in life (Colvin, Block, & Funder, 1995; Hoza et al., 2004).

Overestimation of competence in ADHD children is associated with increased aggression and less prosocial behavior (Hoza et al., 2010; Linnea, Hoza, & Tomb, 2012). Interestingly, McQuade et al. (2011) found that in ADHD-Combined Type and Hyperactive/Impulsive Type children, working memory, attention, and cognitive fluency were more likely to be impaired in children who

530782 JADXXX10.1177/1087054714530782Journal of Attention DisordersSteward et al. research-article2014

1Austin Neuropsychology, PLLC, TX, USA 2University of Texas at Austin, TX, USA

Corresponding Author: Melissa Bunner, Austin Neuropsychology, PLLC, 711 W. 38th St. F-2, Austin, TX 78705, USA. Email:

Self-Awareness of Executive Functioning Deficits in Adolescents With ADHD

Kayla A. Steward1,2, Alexander Tan1,2, Lauren Delgaty1, Mitzi M. Gonzales2, and Melissa Bunner1,2