Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 521–534

Hyperactivity in Boys with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): A Ubiquitous Core Symptom or Manifestation of Working Memory Deficits?

  • Mark D. Rapport
  • Jennifer Bolden
  • Michael J. Kofler
  • Dustin E. Sarver
  • Joseph S. Raiker
  • R. Matt Alderson
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10802-008-9287-8

Cite this article as:
Rapport, M.D., Bolden, J., Kofler, M.J. et al. J Abnorm Child Psychol (2009) 37: 521. doi:10.1007/s10802-008-9287-8

Abstract

Hyperactivity is currently considered a core and ubiquitous feature of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); however, an alternative model challenges this premise and hypothesizes a functional relationship between working memory (WM) and activity level. The current study investigated whether children’s activity level is functionally related to WM demands associated with the domain-general central executive and subsidiary storage/rehearsal components using tasks based on Baddeley’s (Working memory, thought, and action. New York: Oxford University Press 2007) WM model. Activity level was objectively measured 16 times per second using wrist- and ankle-worn actigraphs while 23 boys between 8 and 12 years of age completed control tasks and visuospatial/phonological WM tasks of increasing memory demands. All children exhibited significantly higher activity rates under all WM relative to control conditions, and children with ADHD (n = 12) moved significantly more than typically developing children (n = 11) under all conditions. Activity level in all children was associated with central executive but not storage/rehearsal functioning, and higher activity rates exhibited by children with ADHD under control conditions were fully attenuated by removing variance directly related to central executive processes.

Keywords

ADHDWorking memoryHyperactivityActivity levelAttention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark D. Rapport
    • 1
  • Jennifer Bolden
    • 1
  • Michael J. Kofler
    • 1
  • Dustin E. Sarver
    • 1
  • Joseph S. Raiker
    • 1
  • R. Matt Alderson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA