Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Gerdes, Alyson C.

Second Advisor

Saunders, Stephen

Third Advisor

Van Hecke, Amy


The goal of the present study was to examine the role that maternal attributions play in predicting treatment outcomes for families of children with ADHD. Specifically, we examined if maternal attributions at the beginning of a psychosocial intervention predicted successful completion of treatment, as well as statistically significant and reliable change in maternal functioning following treatment. Participants included 41 families seeking services for their child from a university-based ADHD clinic; 31 of whom completed treatment. A series of written vignettes were used to assess four domains of causal attributions (i.e., locus of control, global/stable, intentional, controllable). In general, analyses indicated that maternal attributions for negative child behaviors did not significantly predict treatment completion, nor did they predict statistically significant improvements in maternal functioning or reliable change in maternal parenting stress following treatment. There are several potential explanations for these null findings, including the type of cognitions examined, the lack of variability in maternal attributions, characteristics of the sample, and sample size. Although the current findings do not provide support for the influence of maternal attributions, future work with a larger sample would allow for the relation between attributions and treatment outcomes to be further assessed to determine if targeting parental cognitions in standard behavioral parent training is needed.