Previous ecological momentary assessment (EMA) research in children has suggested that emotional dysregulation problems are commonly associated with ADHD symptoms and may help explain their relatively strong co-occurrence with anxiety and depression (collectively referred to as ‘internalising problems’); however, this has yet to be replicated for adults. In this study, we used data from a n=260 longitudinal cohort and EMA study, to evaluate the hypothesis that emotional dysregulation mediates the association between ADHD symptoms and internalising problems in emerging adulthood. Emotional dysregulation was based on affect data collected in near real time and in ecological context over a 14-day period, providing a measure of emotional lability in the context of participants’ daily lives. Cross-sectional mediation was tested using structural equation modelling. Emotional lability significantly mediated the association between ADHD symptoms and internalising problems. Results suggest that interventions that address the emotional dysregulation aspects of ADHD are likely to be beneficial for preventing and managing secondary internalising symptoms.
- attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
- emotional dysregulation
- internalising problems
- ecological momentary assessment