This study was designed to provide more insight into the relationship between social support and externalizing behavior in forensic patients with ADHD. Because ADHD is highly associated with psychosocial impairment, we expected poor social support and attachment insecurity (i.e., preoccupied, fearful, and dismissive attachment) to be associated with higher levels of externalizing behaviors in forensic patients with ADHD. Self-reports of 32 forensic male outpatients with ADHD (M age = 35.34) were compared with self-reports of healthy (n = 32; M age = 33.84), and ‘at risk’ control males with (a history of) psychological problems (n = 30; M age = 36.47) from the general population. In addition, associations between social support, attachment and externalizing behaviors (i.e., aggression, antisociality, anger and hostility) were examined within the sample as a whole. Analyses of variance showed that forensic patients with ADHD had higher levels of externalizing behaviors and insecure attachment, and lower levels of secure attachment compared to both healthy and at risk controls. Multivariate regression analyses showed that social support was not associated with any of the externalizing behaviors, after accounting for attachment. In contrast, insecure attachment was associated with higher levels of all externalizing behaviors examined. Finally, insecure attachment best explained antisociality and hostility, suggesting that attachment is more important than other psychopathological risk factors that distinguish the different groups.
- ADULT ATTACHMENT
- Adult attachment
- DEFICIT/HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER
- Externalizing behavior
- Forensic psychiatric patients
- Social support