The developmental roles of inhibition and working memory across childhood on preadolescent ADHD behaviors

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rachael Teresa Kelleher (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Susan P. Keane

Abstract: The ADHD literature suggests that impaired executive functions (EF) of response inhibition and working memory (WM), support behaviors of impulsivity, distractibility, and the inability to suppress behavioral hyperactivity. However, methodological approaches commonly used in ADHD research do not examine causal effects of impaired EFs on ADHD behaviors. Moreover, most studies fail to use a developmental approach in attempting to understand how EFs account for ADHD behaviors. To knowledge, no studies have conducted longitudinal, mediational, and moderational tests on key EF’s of inhibition and WM to outcomes of ADHD. The current study examined two longitudinal path analysis models assessing whether 5-year inhibition and 10-year WM predict to symptom expressions of ADHD. Specifically, one model tested if ADHD behavioral expressions were moderated by the interaction term of inhibition and WM. The other model assessed if WM mediated the relation between 5-year inhibition to 10-year ADHD behaviors. The model examining the mediational role of WM best fit the data whereas the moderation model did not. Support was found for the mediational role of WM but only for behaviors of inattention. Further, lower 5-year inhibition did not directly predict to greater 10-year ADHD behaviors. Although results of the study supported the hypotheses of the longitudinal contributory effects of earlier EFs on ADHD behaviors, future studies should focus on cross-lagged longitudinal designs to more precisely understand the complex effects of developing EFs on ADHD behavioral expressions.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2018
ADHD, Childhood, Development, Executive Functioning, Inhibition, Working memory
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
Executive functions (Neuropsychology)
Short-term memory in children
Inhibition in children

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