||Risk taking by adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a behavioral and psychophysiological investigation of peer influence
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||Journal of abnormal child psychology
||Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) . Risk taking . Peer influence . Autonomic reactivity . Stress .
Balloon analogue risk task (BART)
||Adolescents with ADHD demonstrate increased risk-taking behavior (RTB) like substance abuse and dangerous traffic conduct.
RTB in adolescence is more likely under peer influence. The current investigation (1) tests the hypothesis that adolescents with
ADHD are particularly susceptible to such influence and (2) tests whether groups differed in autonomic reactivity to peer
influence. Adolescent boys between 12 and 19 years with (n = 81) and without (n = 99) ADHD performed the Balloon
Analogue Risk Task twice. In the peer condition, a highly credible virtual peer manipulation that encouraged risk taking was
added, in the solo condition this was absent. Autonomic reactivity was indexed by heart rate (HR), pre-ejection period (PEP) and
respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA). All adolescents engaged in more risk taking in the peer condition relative to solo condition.
Autonomic differences between groups were only found on PEP: a stronger sympathetic response to peer influence was observed
in typically developing adolescents relative to adolescents with ADHD. Increased physiological stress (as indexed by PEP) in the
peer relative to the solo condition predicted peer-induced risk taking in all adolescents. We conclude that susceptibility to peer
influence is not exaggerated in ADHD but rather reflects a general tendency of adolescents. As adolescents experiencing peer
influence as stressful are most susceptible to peer influence, we suggest that increasing resistance to peer influence may be an
important treatment aim for these adolescents specifically.