Objectives : It is known that children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) experience significant difficulty in recognizing facial emotion, which involves processing of emotional facial expressions rather than speech, compared to children without ADHD. This objective of this study is to investigate the differences in facial emotion recognition between children with ADHD and normal children used as control.
Methods : The children for our study were recruited from the Suwon Project, a cohort comprising a non-random convenience sample of 117 nine-year-old ethnic Koreans. The parents of the study participants completed study questionnaires such as the Korean version of Child Behavior Checklist, ADHD Rating Scale, Kiddie-Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia-Present and Lifetime Version. Facial Expression Recognition Test of the Emotion Recognition Test was used for the evaluation of facial emotion recognition and ADHD Rating Scale was used for the assessment of ADHD.
Results : ADHD children (N=10) were found to have impaired recognition when it comes to Emotional Differentiation and Contextual Understanding compared with normal controls (N=24). We found no statistically significant difference in the recognition of positive facial emotions (happy and surprise) and negative facial emotions (anger, sadness, disgust and fear) between the children with ADHD and normal children.
Conclusion : The results of our study suggested that facial emotion recognition may be closely associated with ADHD, after controlling for covariates, although more research is needed.
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