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Exploring the effect of ADHD traits on the moment-to-moment interplay between provocation and aggression: Evidence from dynamic structural equation modeling

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/09/2023
<mark>Journal</mark>Aggressive Behavior
Issue number5
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)469-479
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date8/03/23
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The relation between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms and aggression is well documented; however, the processes that account for higher levels of aggression associated with ADHD in the course of daily life are little understood. The current study used ecological momentary assessment to explore how ADHD traits relate to individual differences in perceiving provocation from others and the resultant aggressive behaviors; and the strengths of the links between provocation and aggression in the flow of daily life. A dynamic structural equation model was fit using data from a subpopulation of young adults involved in the longitudinal z-proso study (n = 259, median-age 20). Data on provocation and aggression was collected at four quasi-random time periods per day over a 14-day period. Individuals with higher ADHD trait levels reported higher instances of provocation and aggression, with ADHD traits significantly moderating aggression inertia such that those with higher levels of ADHD traits showed greater persistence of aggressive behavior over time. However, ADHD trait levels did not significantly moderate any of the observed cross-lagged effects. Our findings suggest that individuals with higher levels of ADHD traits are at greater risk of exposure to interpersonal interactions involving interpersonal provocation, show higher levels of aggressive behavior in daily life, and find it more difficult to reduce their aggression once triggered. These findings support the importance of targeting factors such as social skills and emotion regulation that may underpin the increased difficulties in interpersonal interactions often experienced by individuals with high levels of ADHD symptoms.