, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 69-85

Which Executive Functioning Deficits Are Associated With AD/HD, ODD/CD and Comorbid AD/HD+ODD/CD?

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Abstract

This study investigated (1) whether attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) is associated with executive functioning (EF) deficits while controlling for oppositional defiant disorder/conduct disorder (ODD/CD), (2) whether ODD/CD is associated with EF deficits while controlling for AD/HD, and (3)~whether a combination of AD/HD and ODD/CD is associated with EF deficits (and the possibility that there is no association between EF deficits and AD/HD or ODD/CD in isolation). Subjects were 99~children ages 6–12 years. Three putative domains of EF were investigated using well-validated tests: verbal fluency, working memory, and planning. Independent of ODD/CD, AD/HD was associated with deficits in planning and working memory, but not in verbal fluency. Only teacher rated AD/HD, but not parent rated AD/HD, significantly contributed to the prediction of EF task performance. No EF deficits were associated with ODD/CD. The presence of comorbid AD/HD accounts for the EF deficits in children with comorbid AD/HD+ODD/CD. These results suggest that EF deficits are unique to AD/HD and support the model proposed by R. A. Barkley (1997).