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Implementation Intentions Facilitate Response Inhibition in Children with ADHD

Abstract

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is associated with action control problems such as failure to inhibit inappropriate responses. Two studies investigated whether self-regulation by implementation intentions (if-then plans; Gollwitzer, P. M. (1999). Implementation intentions: Strong effects of simple plans. American Psychologist, 54, 493–503) facilitates response inhibition in children with ADHD. In Study 1, children with ADHD who furnished a suppression goal with implementation intentions improved inhibition of an unwanted response on a Go/No-Go task to the same level observed in children without ADHD. Study 2 showed that a combination of implementation intentions and psychostimulant medication resulted in the highest level of suppression performance in children with ADHD. Theoretical and applied implications of these results are discussed.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. For ease of exposition in this paper, the term ADHD is used constantly as an abbreviation for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder according to the DSM-IV subtypes of ADHD (Predominantly Inattentive Type, Combined Type, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type) and the ICD-10 category of Hyperkinetic Disorder.

  2. No titration algorithm was used.

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Correspondence to Caterina Gawrilow.

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Gawrilow, C., Gollwitzer, P.M. Implementation Intentions Facilitate Response Inhibition in Children with ADHD. Cogn Ther Res 32, 261–280 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-007-9150-1

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Keywords

  • Children with ADHD
  • Executive functions
  • Response inhibition
  • Self-regulation
  • Implementation intentions