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23-08-2018 | Uitgave 4/2018

Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review 4/2018

Review of the Evidence for Motivation Deficits in Youth with ADHD and Their Association with Functional Outcomes

Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review > Uitgave 4/2018
Zoe R. Smith, Joshua M. Langberg


Preeminent theories of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) suggest that motivation deficits are core underlying features of the disorder. However, it is currently unclear whether empirical evidence supports the assertion that significant group (ADHD v. comparison) differences in motivation exist or that problems with motivation contribute to the functional impairments that youth with ADHD experience. Accordingly, this review focused on evaluating and summarizing the empirical literature on the presence of motivation deficits and their association with functional outcomes in samples of youth with ADHD. Twenty studies met the review inclusion criteria. Results support the assertion that youth with ADHD have lower academic-related motivation in comparison to their peers and that motivation plays an important role in academic outcomes, with the strongest evidence to date for reading achievement. However, the available evidence is limited, and few existing studies are aligned with the much larger theoretical and empirical motivation literature in typically developing youth. Given preliminary evidence that motivation plays a role in the academic impairments of youth with ADHD, the review concludes with a discussion of whether current ADHD interventions adequately target motivation and highlights important future directions.

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