- Prevalence and diagnostic validity of motivational impairments and deficits in visuospatial short-term memory and working memory in ADHD subtypes
- European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
- Volume | Issue number
- 24 | 5
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Deficits in working memory (WM) and reinforcement sensitivity are thought to give rise to symptoms in the combined (ADHD-C) and inattentive subtype (ADHD-I) of ADHD. Children with ADHD are especially impaired on visuospatial WM, which is composed of short-term memory (STM) and a central executive. Although deficits in visuospatial WM and reinforcement sensitivity appear characteristic of children with ADHD on a group-level, the prevalence and diagnostic validity of these impairments is still largely unknown. Moreover, studies investigating this did not control for the interaction between motivational impairments and cognitive performance in children with ADHD, and did not differentiate between ADHD subtypes. Visuospatial WM and STM tasks were administered in a standard (feedback-only) and a high-reinforcement (feedback + 10 euros) condition, to 86 children with ADHD-C, 27 children with ADHD-I (restrictive subtype), and 62 typically developing controls (aged 8-12). Reinforcement sensitivity was indexed as the difference in performance between the reinforcement conditions. WM and STM impairments were most prevalent in ADHD-C. In ADHD-I, only WM impairments, not STM impairments, were more prevalent than in controls. Motivational impairments were not common (22 % impaired) and equally prevalent in both subtypes. Memory and motivation were found to represent independent neuropsychological domains. Impairment on WM, STM, and/or motivation was associated with more inattention symptoms, medication-use, and lower IQ scores. Similar results were found for analyses of diagnostic validity. The majority of children with ADHD-C is impaired on visuospatial WM. In ADHD-I, STM impairments are not more common than in controls. Within both ADHD subtypes only a minority has an abnormal sensitivity to reinforcement.
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