This study examined independent contributions of executive functioning (EF), state regulation (SR), and social risk factors to symptom dimensions of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in two cohorts, which included 221 Norwegian children and 294 Finnish adolescents. Independent contributions of EF and SR were shown in the Norwegian cohort and EF contributed independently in the Finnish cohort. When controlling for each symptom dimension, cognitive functioning and social risk factors were differentially associated with inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity symptoms. The results show the need to include both social risk factors and cognitive functioning to obtain a better understanding of ADHD symptoms.
"Such a finding may suggest a developmental window for intervening in adopted children's ADHD symptoms, perhaps through early intervention. The association between family structure and ADHD partially confirmed earlier research which found that having a nonintact structure contributed to ADHD symptoms (Hurtig et al. 2005; Forssman et al. 2009). In this sample, married couples scored higher in family coherence than divorced/separated or single/widowed couples. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Positive family environments are crucial in promoting children's emotional and behavioural well-being, and may also buffer development of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD is highly heritable, but psychosocial factors in the family environment, particularly family cohesion and communication, may mediate genetic predispositions. The purpose of the current study is to examine the mediating influence of the adoptive family environment between pre-adoptive risk factors and youths' ADHD symptomatology at 14 years post adoption.
The data used in this study were obtained from the fourth wave of the California Long-Range Adoption Study (CLAS) (n = 449). Using structural equation modelling (SEM), family sense of coherence and family adaptability were tested as possible mediators between environmental and biological predictors and ADHD symptomatology. Predictors included birthweight, gender, age at adoption, adoption from foster care, transracial adoption status, ethnicity and having a previous diagnosis of ADHD.
Results show that, while adoption from foster care is negatively associated with family functioning, higher family cohesion and adaptability mediate this influence on children's ADHD symptomatology. Older age of adoption directly predicts greater ADHD symptoms with no mediating influence of the family environment.
The mediating influence of the family environment between children's risk factors and ADHD symptoms suggests that family intervention strategies may be helpful in improving adopted children's outcomes. Once children are adopted, targeting family communication patterns and dynamics may be an additional part of developing an evidence-based, post-adoption services toolkit.
Child Care Health and Development 10/2013; 40(6). DOI:10.1111/cch.12112 · 1.69 Impact Factor
"Neuropsychological studies have related changes in neural networks involving the frontal lobe to impairment on tests of attention, primarily those defined within the concept of executive function (EF) [7,8]. The importance of EF is emphasized by the fact that impairment in childhood tends to increase into adulthood , is associated with severity of ADHD symptoms  and overall cognitive and everyday functioning . However, it is well documented that not all individuals with ADHD show impairment on all core tests of EF [12,13], and multiple pathway models have been developed to link different aspects of EF to neurobiology [14,15]. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Attention Network Test (ANT) generates measures of different aspects of attention/executive function. In the present study we investigated whether adults with ADHD performed different from controls on measures of accuracy, variability and vigilance as well as the control network. Secondly, we studied subgroups of adults with ADHD, expecting impairment on measures of the alerting and control networks in a subgroup with additional symptoms of affective fluctuations.
A group of 114 adults (ADHD n = 58; controls n = 56) performed the ANT and completed the Adult ADHD Rating Scale (ASRS) and the Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ). The latter was used to define affective fluctuations.
The sex distribution was similar in the two groups, but the ADHD group was significantly older (p = .005) and their score on a test of intellectual function (WASI) significantly lower than in the control group (p = .007). The two groups were not significantly different on measures of the three attention networks, but the ADHD group was generally less accurate (p = .001) and showed a higher variability through the task (p = .033).The significance was only retained for the accuracy measure when age and IQ scores were controlled for. Within the ADHD group, individuals reporting affective fluctuations (n = 22) were slower (p = .015) and obtained a lower score on the alerting network (p = .018) and a higher score on the conflict network (p = .023) than those without these symptoms. The significance was retained for the alerting network (p = .011), but not the conflict network (p = .061) when we controlled for the total ASRS and IQ scores.
Adults with ADHD were characterized by impairment on accuracy and variability measures calculated from the ANT. Within the ADHD group, adults reporting affective fluctuations seemed to be more alert (i.e., less impacted by alerting cues), but slower and more distracted by conflicting stimuli than the subgroup without such fluctuations. The results suggest that the two ADHD subgroups are characterized by distinct patterns of attentional problems, and that the symptoms assessed by MDQ contribute to the cognitive heterogeneity characterizing groups of individuals with ADHD.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, the authors investigated whether ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) behaviors share associations with problems in cognitive functioning and/or family risk factors in adolescence. This was done by examining independent as well as specific associations of cognitive functioning and family risk factors with ADHD and ODD behaviors.
A sample of 120 adolescents from the general population was assessed on various cognitive tasks. ADHD and ODD behaviors were measured through parental and teacher ratings based on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th edition) criteria. Parents and adolescents provided information regarding measures of family risk factors.
The results show that only cognitive functioning was associated with ADHD behaviors, and family risk factors were, independent of cognitive functioning, associated with ODD behaviors. ConcluSION: These results suggest that cognitive performance bears a specific significance for ADHD behaviors, whereas family risk factors have specific importance for ODD behaviors.
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