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01-08-2011 | Uitgave 6/2011 Open Access

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 6/2011

Attentional Performance in Children and Adolescents with Tic Disorder and Co-Occurring Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: New Insights from a 2 × 2 Factorial Design Study

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology > Uitgave 6/2011
Ellen Greimel, Sina Wanderer, Aribert Rothenberger, Beate Herpertz-Dahlmann, Kerstin Konrad, Veit Roessner


The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of both tic disorder (TD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) on attentional functions. N = 96 children and adolescents participated in the study, including n = 21 subjects with TD, n = 23 subjects with ADHD, n = 25 subjects with TD+ADHD, and n = 27 controls. Attentional performance was tested based on four computerized attention tasks (sustained attention, divided attention, go/nogo and set shifting). The effect of TD as well as ADHD on attentional performance was tested using a 2 × 2 factorial approach. A diagnosis of TD had no negative impact on attentional functions but was associated with improved performance in the set shifting task. By contrast, regardless of a diagnosis of TD, subjects with ADHD were found to perform worse in the sustained attention, divided attention and go/nogo task. No interaction effect between the factors TD and ADHD was revealed for any of the attention measures. Our results add to findings from other areas of research, showing that in subjects with TD and ADHD, ADHD psychopathology is often the main source of impairment, whereas a diagnosis of TD has little or no impact on neuropsychological performance in most cases and even seems to be associated with adaptive mechanisms.

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