Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 513–525 | Cite as

The Relationship Between Sluggish Cognitive Tempo, Subtypes of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and Anxiety Disorders

  • Benedicte Skirbekk
  • Berit Hjelde Hansen
  • Beate Oerbeck
  • Hanne Kristensen


The objective of the present study was to examine the relationship between sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT), subtypes of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and anxiety disorders (AnxDs). One hundred and forty-one children (90 males, 51 females) aged 7–13 years were assigned to four groups, i.e., referred children with comorbid AnxDs and ADHD (n = 25), ADHD (n = 39), AnxDs (n = 41), and nonreferred controls (n = 36). Furthermore we explored the association between SCT and several neurocognitive measures (reaction time, verbal memory, and spatial memory). Diagnoses were established using Kiddie-SADS P/L. SCT was assessed using a 17-item mother-reported questionnaire. SCT correlated significantly with inattentiveness, regardless of the subtype of ADHD. Furthermore, we found significant differences in the levels of SCT among the four groups, with the highest SCT scores observed in the comorbid group. SCT correlated with variability in spatial memory; in contrast, there was no correlation between SCT and reaction time.


Sluggish cognitive tempo Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder Anxiety disorders Spatial memory ADHD subtypes 



The research was funded by the Norwegian Research Council.

Financial disclosures: Skirbekk, Hansen, Oerbeck, and Kristensen report no biomedical financial interest or potential conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benedicte Skirbekk
    • 1
    • 2
  • Berit Hjelde Hansen
    • 1
    • 3
  • Beate Oerbeck
    • 1
  • Hanne Kristensen
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental HealthEastern and Southern NorwayOsloNorway
  2. 2.Nic Waal’s Institute, Lovisenberg Diakonale HospitalOsloNorway
  3. 3.Akershus University HospitalAkershusNorway

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