The association between punitive childhood experiences and hyperactivity.
This study compared the abuse histories and home environments of adult males who had been referred for Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with that of their nonADHD siblings. Probands and brothers did not differ in their reporting of physical punishment, discipline, parental rejection, or positive parental contact, nor did they differ in their perception of the general atmosphere of their home environments. These findings were generally replicated in a larger sample of ADHD probands, nonADHD brothers and a group of classmate controls. In addition, the relation between severity of hyperactive and aggressive symptoms and degree of abuse was examined within an ADHD sample. Neither the degree of hyperactive symptoms, the degree of aggressive symptoms, nor the interaction of the two was associated with the amount of physical punishment reported. These data challenge the "scapegoat" or "target child" hypothesis prevalent in the child abuse literature by suggesting that punitive parenting may not be significantly controlled by the behavioral characteristics of ADHD children.