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Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 771–785 | Cite as

Sluggish Cognitive Tempo and ADHD Inattention as Predictors of Externalizing, Internalizing, and Impairment Domains: A 2-Year Longitudinal Study

  • Maria del Mar Bernad
  • Mateu Servera
  • Stephen P. Becker
  • G. Leonard BurnsEmail author
Article

Abstract

Although sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT) is distinct from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder inattention (ADHD-IN), few studies have examined whether SCT longitudinally predicts other symptom or impairment dimensions. This study used 4 sources (mothers, fathers, primary teachers, and secondary teachers) and 3 occasions of measurement (first, second, and third grades) with 758 first grade (55 % boys), 718 second grade (54 % boys), and 585 third grade (53 % boys) children from Spain to determine SCT’s and ADHD-IN’s unique longitudinal relationships with psychopathology, academic impairment, and social impairment over the 1- and 2-year intervals (i.e., first to third grade, second to third grade). For 1- and 2-year intervals using both mothers’ and fathers’ ratings, higher levels of SCT uniquely predicted higher levels of anxiety, depression, academic impairment, and social impairment whereas higher levels of ADHD-IN uniquely predicted higher levels of ADHD-HI, ODD, and academic impairment. For 1- and 2-year intervals across different primary and secondary teachers (i.e., first/second and third grade ratings were provided by different teachers), higher scores on ADHD-IN uniquely predicted poorer outcomes across domains whereas higher scores on SCT uniquely predicted lower levels of ADHD-HI and ODD for both intervals in addition to higher levels of depression (for primary teachers only), academic impairment (for 1-year interval only), and peer rejection (2-year interval only for primary teachers). Overall, SCT was significantly associated with important outcomes independent of ADHD-IN over 1- and 2-year intervals and across four different raters. This study provides further evidence for distinguishing between SCT and ADHD-IN in home and school settings.

Keywords

ADHD Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder Comorbidity Functional impairment Longitudinal Sluggish cognitive tempo 

Notes

Acknowledgments

A Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness grant PSI2011-23254 (Spanish Government) and a predoctoral fellowship co-financed by the European Social Fund and the Balearic Island Government (FPI/1451/2012) supported this research. We thank Cristina Trias and Cristina Solano for their help in data collection. The authors also thank the parents and teachers whose kind assistance made the research possible.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria del Mar Bernad
    • 1
  • Mateu Servera
    • 1
  • Stephen P. Becker
    • 2
  • G. Leonard Burns
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.University of the Balearic Islands & Research Institute on Health Sciences (IUNICS)PalmaSpain
  2. 2.Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical PsychologyCincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA

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