Processing Speed Deficits in Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Reading Disability

  • Michelle A. Shanahan
  • Bruce F. Pennington
  • Benjamin E. Yerys
  • Ashley Scott
  • Richard Boada
  • Erik G. Willcutt
  • Richard K. Olson
  • John C. DeFries
Original Paper

Abstract

The goal of the current study was to test whether deficits in processing speed (PS) may be a shared cognitive risk factor in reading disability (RD) and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which are known to be comorbid. Literature on ADHD and RD suggests that deficits on tasks with a speeded component are seen in both of these disorders individually. The current study examined a wide range of speeded tasks in RD, ADHD, comorbid RD+ADHD, and a control group to test whether RD and ADHD have similar profiles of PS deficits, and whether these deficits are shared by the two disorders. The results suggest that a general PS deficit exists in both clinical groups compared to controls, although children with RD demonstrate greater PS deficits than children with ADHD. Two tests (underadditivity and partial correlations) were conducted to test whether these PS deficits are shared. Since we found that PS deficits were underadditive in the comorbid group and that partialling PS reduced the correlation between RD and ADHD, it appears that PS is a shared cognitive risk factor that may help explain the comorbidity of these two disorders.

Keywords

Processing speed ADHD RD Comorbidity 

References

  1. American Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  2. August, G. J., & Garfinkel, B. D. (1990). Comorbidity of ADHD and reading disability among clinic referred children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 18(1), 29–45.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barkley, R. A. (1997) Behavioral Inhibition, sustained attention, and executive function: Constructing a unified theory of ADHD. Psychological Bulletin, 121, 65–94.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barkley, R., & Murphy, K. (1998). Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: A clinical workbook (2nd ed.). New York, NY, US: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  5. Carlson, C. L., Shin, M., & Booth, J. (1999). The case for DSM-IV subtypes in ADHD. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, 5(3), 199–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carroll, J. B. (1993). Human cognitive abilities: A survey of factor analytic studies. Australia: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge.Google Scholar
  7. Catts, H. W., Gillespie, M., Leonard, L. B., Kail, R. V., & Miller, C. A. (2002). The role of speed of processing, rapid naming, and phonological awareness in reading achievement. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 32,38–50.Google Scholar
  8. Chhabildas. N. (2003). A twin study of the validity of the executive function theory of ADHD. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 64(1B), 411.Google Scholar
  9. Chhabildas, N., Pennington, B. F., & Willcutt, E. (2001). A comparison of the neuropsychological profiles of the DSM-IV subtypes of ADHD. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 29(6), 529– 540.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cohen, J., & Cohen, P. (1983). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  11. Compton, D. L., Olson, R. K., DeFries, J. C., & Pennington, B. F. (2002). Comparing the relationships among two different versions of the alphanumeric rapid automatized naming and word level reading skills. Scientific Studies of Reading, 6, 343–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Decker, S. N. (1989). Cognitive processing rates among disabled and normal reading young adults: A nine year follow-up study. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 1, 123–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Denckla, M. B. (1972). Color naming deficits in dyslexic boys. Cortex, 8(2), 164–176.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Denckla, M. B., & Cutting, L. E. (1999). History and Significance of Rapid Automatized Naming. Annals of Dyslexia, 49, 29–42.Google Scholar
  15. Denckla, M. B., & Rudel, R. (1974). Rapid “automatized” naming of pictured objects, colors, letters, and numbers by normal children. Cortex, 10(2), 186–202.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. DeFries, J. C., Singer, S. M., Foch, T. T., & Lewitter, F. I. (1978). Familial nature of reading disability. British Journal of Psychiatry, 132, 361–367.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Doyle, A. E., Willcutt, E. G., Seidman, L. J., Biederman, J., Chouinard, V., Silva, J., & Faraone, S. V., (2005). Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Endophenotypes. Biological Psychiatry, 57(11), 1324–1335.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Foch, T. T., DeFries, J. C., McClearn, G. E., & Singer, S. M. (1977). Familial patterns of impairment in reading disability. Journal of Educational Psychology, 69, 316–329.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. French, J. W., Ekstrom, R. G., & Price, L. A. (1963). Manual for a kit of reference tests for cognitive factors. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.Google Scholar
  20. Gadow, K. D., Drabick, D. A., Loney, J., Sprafkin, J., Salisbury, H., Azizian, A., & Schwartz, J. (2004). Comparison of ADHD symptom subtypes as source-specific syndromes. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45 (6), 1135–1149.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gayan, J., Willcutt, E. G., Fisher, S. E., Franks, C., Cardon, L. R., Olson, R. K., Pennington, B. F., Smith, S. D. Monaco, A. P. & DeFries, J. C. (2005). Bivariate linkage scan for reading disability and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder localizes pleiotropic loci. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 46, 1045–1056.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gilger, J. W., Pennington, B. F., & DeFries, J. C. (1992). A twin study of the etiology of comorbidity: Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and dyslexia. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 31 (2), 343–348.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hollingshead, A. (1975). Two-factor index of social status. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  24. Homack, S., & Riccio, C. A. (2004). A meta-analysis of the sensitivity and specificity of the stroop color and word test with children. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 19(6), 725–743.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kail, R., & Hall, L. K. (1994). Processing speed, naming speed, and reading. Developmental Psychology, 30(6), 949–954.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kail, R., & Hall, L. K. (1999). Processing speed, exposure to print, and naming speed. Applied Psycholinguistics, 20, 303–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kuntsi, J., & Stevenson, J. (2001). Psychological mechanisms in hyperactivity: II The role of genetic factors. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 42(2), 211–219.Google Scholar
  28. Lahey, B. B., Pelham, W. E., Stein, M. A., Loney, J., Trapani, C., Nugent, K., Kipp, H., et al. (1998). Validity of DSM-IV attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder for younger children. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 37(7), 695–702.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lieberman, I. Y., Shankweiler, D., Fischer, F. W., & Carter, B. (1974). Explicit syllable and phoneme segmentation in the young child. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 18(2), 201–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Milich, R., Balentine, A., & Lynam, D. R. (2001). ADHD combined type and ADHD predominantly inattentive type are distinct and unrelated disorders. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 8, 463–488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Nigg, J. T., Blaskey, L. G., Huang-Pollack, C. L., & Rappley, M. D. (2002). Neuropsychological executive functions and DSM-IV ADHD subtypes. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 41 (1), 59–98.Google Scholar
  32. Nigg, J. (2001). Is ADHD a disinhibitory disorder? Psychological Bulletin, 127(5), 571–598.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Nigg, J. T., Willcutt, E. W., Doyle, A. E., & Sonuga-Barke, E. J. (2004). Causal heterogeneity in Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Do we need neuropsychologically impaired subtypes? Journal of Biological Psychiatry, 8(25), 1–7.Google Scholar
  34. Pennington, B. F. (2005). Towards a new neuropsychological model of ADHD: Subtypes and multiple deficits. Biological Psychiatry, 57(11), 1221–1223Google Scholar
  35. Pennington, B. F., Van Orden, G.C., Smith, S. D., Green, P. A., & Haith, M. M. (1990). Phonological processing skills and deficits in adult dyslexics. Child Development, 61(6), 1753–1778.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pennington, B. F. (1991). Diagnosing learning disorders: A neuropsychological framework. New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  37. Pennington, B. F., Groisser, D., & Welsh, M. C. (1993). Contrasting cognitive deficits in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and reading disability. Developmental Psychology, 29(3), 511–523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pennington, B. F., & Ozonoff, S. (1996). Executive Functions and Developmental Psychopathology. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 37 (1), 51–87.Google Scholar
  39. Pennington, B. F., Willcutt, E. G., & Rhee, S. H. (in press). Analyzing Comorbidity.Google Scholar
  40. Plomin, R., DeFries, J. C., McClearn, G. E., & McGuffin, P. (2001). Behavioral genetics (4th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.Google Scholar
  41. Perfetti, C. A., Finger, E., & Hogaboam, T. W. (1978). Sources of vocalization latency differences between skilled and less skilled young readers. Journal of Educational Psychology, 70(5), 730–739.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Ransby, M. J., & Swanson, H. L. (2003). Reading comprehension skills of young adults with childhood diagnoses of dyslexia. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 36(6), 538–555.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Reich, W., Welner, Z., & Herjanic, B. (1997). Diagnostic Interview for Children and Adolescents-IV. North Towanda Falls, NY: Multi-Health System.Google Scholar
  44. Rubia, K., Oosterlaan, J., Sergeant, J. A., Brandeis, D., & van Leeuwen, T. (1998). Inhibitory dysfunction in hyperactive boys. Behavioural Brain Research, 94, 25–32.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rucklidge, J., & Tannock, R. (2002). Neuropsychological profiles of adolescents with ADHD: Effects of reading difficulties and gender. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 43(8), 988–1003.Google Scholar
  46. Salthouse, T. A. (1991). Theoretical perspectives on cognitive aging. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  47. Savage, R. (2004). Motor skills, automaticity, and developmental dyslexia: A review of the research literature. Reading and Writing: An interdisciplinary journal, 17, 301–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Savitz, J. B., & Jansen, P. (2003). The stroop color-word test as an indicator of ADHD in poor readers. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 164(3), 319–333.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Scheres, A., Oosterlaan, J., & Sergeant, J. A. (2001). Response Inhibition in children with DSM-IV subtypes of ADHD and related disruptive disorders: the role of reward. Child Neuropsychology, 7(3), 172–89.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Schmitz, M., Cadore, L., Paczko, M., Kipper, L., Chaves, M., Pohde, L., Moura, C., Knijnik, M. (2002). Neuropsychological performance in DSM-IV ADHD subtypes: An exploratory study with untreated adolescents. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 47 (9), 863-869.Google Scholar
  51. Semrud-Clikeman, M., Biederman, J., Sprich-Buckmister, S., Lehman, B. A., Faraone, S. V., & Norman, D. (1992). Comorbidity between ADDH and LD: A review and report in a clinically referred sample. Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 31, 439–448.Google Scholar
  52. Sergeant, J. A. (2005). Modeling Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A critical appraisal of the cognitive-energetic model. Biological Psychiatry, 57 (11), 1248-1255.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Shaywtiz, B. A., Fletcher, J. M., & Shaywtiz, S. E. (1995). Defining and classifying learning disabilities and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Child Neurology, 10, S50–S57.Google Scholar
  54. Shaywtiz, B. A., Fletcher, J. M., Holahan, J. M., Shneider, A. E., Marchione, K. E., Stuebing, K. K., Francis, D. J., Shankweler, D. P., Katz, L., Liverman, I. Y., & Shaywitz, S. E. (1995). Interrelationships between reading disability and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Child Neuropsychology, 1(3), 170–183.Google Scholar
  55. Slusarek, M., Velling, S., Bunk, D., & Eggers, C. (2001). Motivational effects on inhibitory control in children with ADHD. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 40(3), 355–363.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Solanto, M. V., Abikoff, H., Sonuga-Barke, E., Schachar, R., Logan, G., Wigal, T., Hechtman, L., Hinshaw, S., & Turkel, E. (2001). The ecological validity of delay aversion and response inhibition as measures of impulsivity in AD/HD: a supplement to the NIMH Multimodal Treatment Study of AD/HD. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 29(3), 215–228.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Suk-han Ho, C., & Lai, D. N. (1999). Naming speed deficits and phonological memory deficits in Chinese developmental dyslexia. Learning and Individual Differences, 11(2), 173–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Tallal, P., Miller, S. L., Jenkins, W. M., & Merzenich, M. M. (1997). The role of temporal processing in developmental language-based learning disorders: Research and clinical implications. In B.A. Blachman (Eds.), Foundations of reading acquisition and dyslexia: Implications for early intervention. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.Google Scholar
  59. Todd, R. D., Nantawat, S., Reich, W., Ted, H.-C., Joyner, C., Heath, A. C., Neuman, R. J. (2002). Discrimination of DSM-IV and latent class attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder subtypes by educational and cognitive performance in a population-based sample of child and adolescent twins. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 41(7), 820–829.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. van der Meere, J., & Stermerdink, N. (1998). The development of state regulation in normal children: An indirect comparison with children with ADHD. Developmental Neuropsychology, 16, 213–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. van der Meere, J., Stermerdink, N., & Gunning, B. (1995). Effects of presentation rate of stimuli on response inhibition in ADHD children with and without tics. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 81(1), 259–262.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. Wagner, R. K., Torgenson, J. K., Laughon, P., Simmons, K., & Rashotte, C. A. (1993). Development of young readers’ phonological processing abilities. Journal of Educational Psychology, 85(1), 83–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wechsler, D. (2003). Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children- Fourth Edition: Administration and Scoring Manual. San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  64. Weiler, M. D., Holmes Bernstein, J., Bellinger, D. C., & Waber, D. P. (2000). Processing speed in children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, inattentive type. Child Neuropsychology, 6(3), 218–234.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Werry, J. S., Elkind, G. S., & Reeves, J. C. (1987). Attention deficit, conduct, oppositional, and anxiety disorders in children: III. Laboratory differences. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 15(3), 409–428.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Willcutt, E. G., DeFries, J. C., Pennington, B. F., Olson, R. K., Smith, S. D., & Cardon, L. R. (2003). Genetic etiology of comorbid reading difficulties and ADHD. In R. Plomin, J.C. DeFries, P. McGuffin, & I. Craig (Eds.), Behavioral genetics in a post-genomic era (pp. 227–246). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  67. Willcutt, E. G., & Pennington, B. F. (2000). Comorbidity of reading disability and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: Differences by gender and subtype. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 33(2), 179–191.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. Willcutt, E. G., Pennington, B. F., Boada, R., Ogline, J. S., Tunick, R. A., Chhabildas, N. A., & Olson, R. K. (2001). A comparison of the cognitive deficits in reading disability and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 110(1), 157–172.Google Scholar
  69. Willcutt, E. G., Pennington, B. F., & DeFries, J. C. (2000). A twin study of the etiology of the comorbidity between reading disability and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. American Journal of Medical Genetics (Neuropsychiatric Genetics), 96, 296–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Willcutt, E. G., Pennington, B. F., Smith, S. D., Cardon, L. R., Gayan, J., Knopik, V. S., et al. (2002). Quantitative trait locus for reading disability on chromosome 6p is pleiotropic for ADHD. American Journal of Medical Genetics (Neuropsychiatric Genetics),114 (3), 260–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Willcutt, E. G., Pennington, B. F., Olson, R. K., Chhabildas, N., & Hulslander, J. (2005). Neuropsychological Analyses of comoribidity between reading disability and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: In search of the common deficit. Developmental Neuropsychology, 27 (1), 35–78.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Wimmer, H., Mayringer, H., & Landerl, K. (2000). The double deficit hypothesis and difficulties in learning to read a regular orthography. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(4), 668–680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Wolf. M. (1999). What time may tell: Towards a new conceptualization of developmental dyslexia. Annals of Dyslexia, 49,3–23.Google Scholar
  74. Wolf, M., & Bowers, P. G. (1999). The double-deficit hypothesis for the developmental dyslexias. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91(3), 415–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Wolf, M., Bowers, P. G., & Biddle, K. (2000). Naming speed processes, timing, and reading: A conceptual review. Journal of Learning Disabilities 33(4), 387–407.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  76. Wolf, M., O’Rourke, G. A., Gidney, C., Lovett, M., Cirino, P. & Morris, R. (2002). The second deficit: An investigation of the independence of phonological and naming-speed deficits in developmental dyslexia. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 15, 43–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Woods, S. P., Lovejoy, D. W., Ball, J. D. (2002). Neuropsychological characteristics of adults with ADHD: A comprehensive review of initial studies. Clinical Neuropsychologist, 16(1), 12–34.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle A. Shanahan
    • 1
  • Bruce F. Pennington
    • 1
  • Benjamin E. Yerys
    • 1
  • Ashley Scott
    • 2
  • Richard Boada
    • 1
  • Erik G. Willcutt
    • 3
  • Richard K. Olson
    • 3
  • John C. DeFries
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of DenverDenverUSA
  2. 2.Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping CenterUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesCaliforniaUSA
  3. 3.Institute for Behavioral GeneticsUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA

Personalised recommendations