Slow Processing Speed and Sluggish Cognitive Tempo in Pediatric Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Evidence for Differentiation of Functional Correlates
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The association between slow processing speed and sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT), a phenotype described within attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) samples over the past decade, remains unclear. We examined whether SCT and processing speed predict different functional correlates within children and adolescents with ADHD. Participants were 193 clinically-referred youth meeting DSM ADHD criteria without comorbid conditions (mean age = 9.9 years, SD = 2.5; age range 6–16). The incremental utility of SCT and processing speed to predict (1) adaptive functioning and (2) academic achievement, after controlling for age, sex, medication status, and ADHD symptom burden, was assessed using hierarchical multiple regressions. SCT symptoms significantly predicted adaptive functioning, accounting for 6% of the variance, but did not predict academic achievement. Processing speed did not add incrementally to the prediction of adaptive functioning, but did predict academic achievement, accounting for 4% of the variance. Results suggest that SCT and processing speed differentially predict functional abilities not accounted for by ADHD symptom burden.
KeywordsAttention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder Processing speed Sluggish cognitive tempo Pediatric Functional outcomes
Project development and data analysis was supported by: Shire Pharmaceuticals (PI Surman, Co-I Braaten, Co-I Cook). Data collection was supported by: Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research (PI Doyle) and David Judah Fund (Co-Is Doyle & Braaten). The authors thank the patients and their parents who participated in this study. The authors also wish to thank Anthony Guarino, Ph.D. for his feedback on an early version of our data analytic plan.
Dr. Surman (PI) received an unrestricted research grant to support data analysis and manuscript preparation from Shire Pharmaceuticals.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
It was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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