Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 40, Issue 6, pp 999–1011 | Cite as

Understanding Phonological Memory Deficits in Boys with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Dissociation of Short-term Storage and Articulatory Rehearsal Processes

  • Jennifer Bolden
  • Mark D. RapportEmail author
  • Joseph S. Raiker
  • Dustin E. Sarver
  • Michael J. Kofler


The current study dissociated and examined the two primary components of the phonological working memory subsystem—the short-term store and articulatory rehearsal mechanism—in boys with ADHD (n = 18) relative to typically developing boys (n = 15). Word lists of increasing length (2, 4, and 6 words per trial) were presented to and recalled by children following a brief (3 s) interval to assess their phonological short-term storage capacity. Children's ability to utilize the articulatory rehearsal mechanism to actively maintain information in the phonological short-term store was assessed using word lists at their established memory span but with extended rehearsal times (12 s and 21 s delays). Results indicate that both phonological shortterm storage capacity and articulatory rehearsal are impaired or underdeveloped to a significant extent in boys with ADHD relative to typically developing boys, even after controlling for age, SES, IQ, and reading speed. Larger magnitude deficits, however, were apparent in short-term storage capacity (ES = 1.15 to 1.98) relative to articulatory rehearsal (ES = 0.47 to 1.02). These findings are consistent with previous reports of deficient phonological short-term memory in boys with ADHD, and suggest that future attempts to develop remedial cognitive interventions for children with ADHD will need to include active components that require children to hold increasingly more information over longer time intervals.


ADHD Phonological working memory Articulatory rehearsal processes Phonological recall 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Bolden
    • 1
  • Mark D. Rapport
    • 1
    Email author
  • Joseph S. Raiker
    • 1
  • Dustin E. Sarver
    • 1
  • Michael J. Kofler
    • 1
  1. 1.Children’s Learning Clinic-IV, Department of PsychologyUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA

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