Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most common childhood psychiatric disorder. Those with ADHD are at increased risk for academic problems, social problems, and chronic unemployment. Children from lower socio-economic status (SES) levels have higher rates of ADHD diagnoses than do children from middle and high SES backgrounds. One theoretical explanation is the increased environmental stresses and limited language stimulation associated with poverty adversely affect developmental domains. Support for this two-factor theory with respect to attention comes from observed deficits in verbal attention, but language development completely mediates the relationship between SES and verbal attention, which confirms the relationship between SES levels and language development rather than with attention. Environmental stresses have not been related to verbal attention. Investigating the association between SES levels and visual attention eliminates the confounding effects of language, but previous researchers have found contradictory results when investigating the relationship between SES levels and visual attention. The focus of this quantitative, non-experimental, predictive-relationship study was to investigate the relationship between SES levels and visual attention. The data came from 97 archival files, which represented academically referred students in grades first through sixth. Hollingshead’s Four Factor Index of Social Status (ISS) was the quantification of SES levels. The four subtests of the Test of Variables of Attention (TOVA) were the quantifications of visual attention skills. Regression procedures were used to estimate the extent of the relationship between ISS scores and TOVA scores. The results showed that SES levels contributed less than 1% to the variance in visual attention skills. The environmental stresses and language environment associated with SES levels do not appear to play a significant role in the development of visual attention. The application of the two-factor theory with respect to attention appears to be limited to the influence of the language environment on verbal attention through language development. The extent of the relationship between language development and ADHD symptoms is unclear, and future researchers could investigate this relationship as well as other factors, such as diet, that might contribute to the increased diagnostic rates of ADHD among children from lower SES levels.
|Commitee:||Gessert, Gail, Melaragno, Ralph|
|Department:||School of Psychology|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-B 78/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational psychology, Psychology|
|Keywords:||Attention, Effects of poverty, Socioeconomic status, Test of variables of attention, Visual attention|
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