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05-09-2020 | Uitgave 12/2020

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 12/2020

Longitudinal Trajectories of Sustained Attention Development in Children and Adolescents with ADHD

Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology > Uitgave 12/2020
Phoebe Thomson, Nandita Vijayakumar, Katherine A. Johnson, Charles B. Malpas, Emma Sciberras, Daryl Efron, Philip Hazell, Timothy J. Silk
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10802-020-00698-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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The present study characterizes changes in sustained attention ability over ages 9–14, and whether longitudinal trajectories of attention development differ between persistent ADHD, remitted ADHD and control groups. The Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART) was administered to 120 children with ADHD and 123 controls on three occasions between ages 9 and 14. Trajectories of sustained attention development, indicated by changes in SART performance (standard deviation of response time [SDRT], omission errors, and ex-Gaussian parameters sigma and tau), were examined using generalized additive mixed models. For all measures there was a significant main effect of age; response time variability and number of omission errors improved linearly as children aged. However, children with ADHD had significantly greater SDRT, tau and omission errors than controls across waves. There were no significant group differences in sigma, indicating that the greater overall response time variability (SDRT) observed in ADHD was likely driven by more intermittent long responses (larger tau). Trajectories of sustained attention performance did not differ between children with persistent ADHD or ADHD in remission. Longitudinal trajectories of sustained attention development are comparable between ADHD and controls, however children with ADHD (regardless of remission status) display a performance deficit equivalent to typical controls 1–3 years younger. Findings highlight the need for continued clinical support for children in remission from ADHD and provide support for tau as an endophenotype of ADHD.

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