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Are there executive dysfunction subtypes within ADHD?


Objective: Children with ADHD have heterogeneous behavioral and neuropsychological profiles. The aim of this study was to examine the possible utility of executive function (EF) subtypes within ADHD. Method: Participants were 357 children aged 6 through 13 with a diagnosis of ADHD. Children completed a brief laboratory battery measuring EF, including response inhibition, response variability, speed, and set-shifting. Children also completed standardized intelligence and achievement testing. Results: Two-way cluster analysis of EF profiles of children with ADHD produced a three-cluster solution, labeled poor inhibitory control, poor set-shifting/speed, and intact task performance. Clusters significantly differed in measures of intelligence, academic achievement, and other disruptive behavior and anxiety/mood symptoms. Conclusion: These findings further support the idea that children with ADHD have heterogeneous EF profiles and suggest that the theory of ADHD should consider these individual differences in EF profiles within the ADHD diagnostic category.

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