Date Approved

2015

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Committee Member

Jin Bo, Ph.D., Chair

Committee Member

Renee Lajiness-O'Neill, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Karen Saules, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Walter Harrell, Ph.D.

Abstract

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder mainly characterized by high levels of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. Although ADHD is a topic of great interest in multiple domains, much remains to be explored before a thorough understanding will be possible. Recently, working memory (WM) has gained attention as a potential core deficit of ADHD. Therefore, theories of ADHD and WM may provide guidance for increased understanding of ADHD, and continued research on ADHD, guided by WM theory, will maximize the effectiveness of assessment and treatment for this disorder. The current study utilized a model integrating WM measurement and symptoms of ADHD. To investigate the relationship between continuous measurement of ADHD symptoms and WM functioning, experimental paradigms and clinical assessment of WM capacity were utilized. Results indicated computerized change-detection tasks are not effectively eliciting WM in children, as capacity was significantly lower than that of adults. A trend for developmental increase in WM was found. The WISC-IV Arithmetic subtest was the subtest most consistently related to other clinical and experimental WM measures. The Arithmetic and Digit Span Backward subtests were most consistently related to ADHD inattentive symptoms though significant variance was still unaccounted for, and no WM measure was consistently related to ADHD hyperactive/impulsive symptoms. Overall, continuous measurement of ADHD inattentive symptoms best characterized relationships between ADHD and WM functioning, and WM did not have utility in categorical classification of ADHD. Results highlight the need for advancement in WM measurement, as well as the utility of continuous characterization of disorders

Share

COinS