Executive Function Profile of CHildren with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

  • Shallice T
  • Marco Marzocchi G
  • Coser S
 et al. 
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Abstract

We explored the neuropsychological profile for executive functions of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to assess whether problems associ- ated with the two most cited relevant processes—inhibition and attentional prob- lems—werethe core of any executive function difficulty.Abattery of executive func- tion testswasadministered to 31 children with a clinical diagnosis ofADHDand to 33 normal control participants, all aged between 7 and 12.Theexecutive function battery encompassed a number of tasks, selected because each had multiple measures: a sus- tained attention reaction time task, a related vigilance task, an adaptation of the Hayling Sentence Completion Test, an adaptation of the Brixton Spatial Rule Attain- ment Test, a Letter Fluency task, a number Stroop task, and an “n-back” working memorytask. The overall pattern of the results fit well with those obtained in previous studies as far as abnormalities of the ADHD group in the domain of inhibitory pro- cesses, attentional functions, and executive functions. The children with ADHD, al- though performing well on baseline tasks, performedmorepoorly than the controls on all the experimental tasks with one borderline exception: Letter Fluency, where the children withADHDshowed a very different pattern than most adult frontal lobe sub- groups. However, there was no specific impairment on measures of inhibitory pro- cesses. In addition, strategy generation and use were severely affected in the ADHD group. Particular findings fitted well with disorders of a high-level effort system and of a monitoring system

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Authors

  • Tim Shallice

  • G Marco Marzocchi

  • Silvano Coser

  • Maria Del Savio

  • Renata F. Meuter

  • Raffaella I. Rumiati

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