News: Specialized Press

Are ADHD Symptoms Associated With Delay Aversion or Choice Impulsivity? A General Population Study

Source: Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2009; 48 (8):837-845. / Date: August 2009 / Category: Specialized Press


The aim of this research is to study the association between inattention symptoms and behavioral measures of choice impulsivity and delay aversion. A total of 1,062 children aged 7.90 to 10.90 years (49% girls) made a fixed number of repeated choices between a smaller reward delivered immediately and a larger reward delivered after a delay under two conditions (including and excluding a post-reward delay). The authors investigated the contribution of each symptom of ADHD to the prediction of choice impulsivity and delay aversion, controlled by age and Intellectual Coefficient and examining gender effects. Inattention ratings uniquely predicted preference for smaller-immediate rewards under both task conditions for both sexes. An index of delay aversion was associated with inattention only in boys; the effect size was small yet significant. Hyperactivity-impulsivity ratings were negatively associated with choice impulsivity in girls in the post-reward delay condition. The authors indicate the importance of the primary constitutional processes that underlie choice impulsivity and their potential role in behavioral inattention. Understanding the behavioral and brain processes underlying choice impulsivity may lead to the improved targeting of behavioral and pharmacological interventions.

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