All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Sylvie Mrug

Advisory Committee Members

Russel Fine

Bart Hodgens

Debra McCallum

David Schwebel

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) College of Arts and Sciences


Drivers with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are approximately six times more likely to become involved in a motor vehicle crash (MVC) than drivers without the disorder. Moreover, adolescent drivers with ADHD are likely at greater risk because their attention regulation difficulties are exacerbated by their driving inexperience. Research has primarily focused on the impact of ADHD on driving outcomes among adults. Thus, there is little literature assessing the role of parents in influencing driving outcomes of adolescents with ADHD. The present study was conducted to examine the impact of parenting practices during middle adolescence on the driving outcomes of adolescents with ADHD. We also compared whether the influence of parenting practices differed across samples of adolescent drivers with and without ADHD. Finally, the role of parental psychopathology in parenting behaviors and driving outcomes of youth with ADHD was addressed. The sample was derived from The Multimodal Treatment Study of ADHD (MTA) dataset and included 366 adolescents with ADHD (MTA) and 203 without ADHD (LNCG). Parent and adolescent reports of parenting practices for subjects between 14 and 16 years of age and adolescent driving outcomes for subjects between 17 and 18 years of age were used. In addition, parental ADHD, depression and alcohol use were assessed. Structural equation modeling revealed that low parental monitoring was most predictive of illegal driving behavior, while praise/reinforcement had protective effects against MVCs. Inconsistent with existing literature, effective parenting practices predicted both MVCs and license suspensions. In terms of parental psychopathology, greater symptoms of parental ADHD directly predicted adolescent MVCs and illegal driving behavior. Further, mediation analyses suggested that the relationship between parental ADHD and illegal driving may be mediated by low levels of parental monitoring. Multigroup modeling suggested that the influence of parenting practices differed across the samples. Our findings lend credence to a premise which has been previously unappreciated: the impact of parental psychopathology on the driving outcomes of their adolescent children with ADHD. Our findings also suggest that interventions aimed at reducing adverse driving outcomes in this at-risk population may benefit from considering and addressing parental ADHD prior to attempting to remediate parenting practices.



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