Spontaneous age-related changes of attention in unmedicated boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
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CitationErdogan Bakar, E., & Karakas, S. (2020). Spontaneous age-related changes of attention in unmedicated boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 36(3), 664–698. https://doi.org/10.1080/13854046.2020.1801846
Objective: Neuropsychological, neuroanatomical, and electrophysiological studies have reported a steady increase in the different attention types until the age of 10 years. Moreover, differences between healthy control (HC) boys and those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) become nonsignificant in late childhood. This cross-sectional study aimed to perform a comparative analysis of attentional processing in boys with ADHD and HC in the 6:00-10:11 years age range. Methods: Age-related changes in attentional processing were compared between Caucasian Turkic boys (72-131 months of age) with ADHD (n ¼ 144) and HC (n ¼ 112). Selective, focused, and inhibitory attention were measured using the Stroop Test (5 scores); sustained attention was measured using the Cancellation Test (3 scores); and attention span was measured using the Visual Aural Digit Span Test-Revised (6 scores). Results: At the age of 6 years, the ADHD group had a significantly lower performance for all attention types. By the age of 10 years, there were no significant between-group differences. However, the component structure of the neuropsychological test scores in the ADHD group differed from that in the HC group and previous studies. Conclusions: Attentional processing in boys with ADHD changes within the age-range of 6:00-10:00 years where it finally becomes similar to that in HC boys. This delayed maturation is consistent with the maturational lag model of ADHD. However, there was a betweengroup difference in the component structure of attentional processing, which is consistent with the maturational deviance model of ADHD.