TitleDo unique mechanisms underlie the expression of attention problems in anxious and inattentive-impulsive youth?
NameWeissman, Adam Scott (author), Chu, Brian (chair), Bates, Marsha (internal member), Mohlman, Jan (internal member), Cooperberg, Mark (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder--Treatment,
DescriptionAccumulating evidence suggests that unique mechanisms may underlie the expression of attention problems in youth Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) and anxiety disorders (e.g., AD/HD-Inattentive Type and Generalized Anxiety Disorder). Kendall (2000) proposed that anxiety may be associated predominantly with emotion-based “distortions” in cognitive processing (e.g., misappraisal of the social/interpersonal environment, attentional bias toward perceived threat/danger), while inattention in AD/HD youth may be linked to more global cognitive “deficiencies” (e.g., selective/sustained attention, inhibitory control; Barkley, 1997). The current study compared performance of anxious (ANX; n=21; 8-17 years), inattentive-impulsive (I-I; n=22, 9-16 years), and typically developing children (NC; n=22; 8-13 years) on neurocognitive tests of both general (Stroop Color-Word Test, SCW; Conners’ Continuous Performance Test, CPT) and emotion-based attentional processes (Emotional Stroop, ES; Faces Dot Probe Task, FDP). As hypothesized, I-I demonstrated poorer sustained attention and inhibitory control, as evidenced by lower CPT commission error raw scores, relative to ANX and NC, and a non-significant trend toward higher CPT omission error T-scores, relative to ANX. In addition, ANX demonstrated superior selective attention, relative to I-I, as indicated by higher SCW raw scores (i.e., more items completed in 45 seconds), higher SCW T-scores, and fewer SCW errors. As predicted, ANX demonstrated greater attentional bias toward threat cues, relative to I-I, as indicated by greater FDP bias scores in response to angry faces. No significant group differences were found in bias scores on happy or sad trials. In addition, ANX showed a trend toward significant “absolute bias” scores (i.e., relative to zero) in response to angry faces alone, suggesting a potential emotion-specific attentional bias toward threat cues in anxious youth; I-I exhibited an “absolute bias” toward sad faces, alone. ES bias scores were not significant and did not distinguish between groups. The findings provide initial evidence for the neuropsychological differentiation of attention problems in anxious (i.e., threat-related attentional bias) and inattentive-impulsive children (i.e., general selective/sustained attention), suggesting the potential utility of cognitive assessment as an aid for differential diagnosis and subsequent treatment of youth anxiety and AD/HD.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 51-66)
Noteby Adam Scott Weissman
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work