Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Julia A. Ogg


academic self-perception, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, polynomial regression, Positive Illusory Bias, response surface, social self-perception


The purpose of this study was to investigate perceptions of academic and social competence among adolescents with a continuum of inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms. Past literature suggests that children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) display self-perceptions that are overly positive compared to external indicators of competence, a phenomenon that is referred to as the positive illusory bias (PIB; Owens, Goldfine, Evangelista, Hoza, & Kaiser, 2007). The PIB is well supported among children with ADHD, and recent research suggests that the PIB persists into adolescence. To date, research on the PIB has relied on difference scores (i.e., an indicator of competence is subtracted from student self-ratings); however, difference scores suffer from numerous methodological limitations (Edwards, 2002). The current study investigated the relationship between self and teacher ratings of academic and social competence and inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive, and overall ADHD symptoms among a diverse sample of 395 students and their teachers. Polynomial regression and response surface methods were used to account for self and teacher ratings separately and decrease reliance on differences scores. These methods have been recommended to answer complex questions related to agreement and disagreement between ratings. The results of this study suggest that some adolescents with ADHD symptoms demonstrate the PIB, while others perceive their impairments and rate themselves as having low competence aligned with teacher ratings. Accurate ratings of low competence were more common within the academic domain than the social domain for students with overall ADHD symptoms as well as specific inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms. Results within the social domain indicate that all ADHD symptoms increased more sharply as the discrepancy between self and teacher ratings increased. Student overestimation of competence in both the academic and social domains was shown to be more predictive of high inattentive symptoms compared to hyperactive/impulsive symptoms. These findings suggest this new analysis approach allowed for a more nuanced understanding of the complex relationship between student and teacher competence ratings and ADHD symptoms. Gaining a better understanding of the PIB through this improved methodology has the potential to influence assessment and intervention practices among school psychologists, and to contribute to future research in this area. This study contributes to the literature by being the first to (1) examine the PIB in relation to a range of general and specific ADHD symptoms, (2) use polynomial regression/response surface methods to address limitations of difference scores, and (3) explore the PIB among a school-based sample of adolescents.