An Evaluation of the Response Modulation Hypothesis in Relation to Attention–Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

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Abstract

Several hypotheses related to Newman's (e.g., Patterson & Newman, 1993) response modulation hypothesis were examined among adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; n=18) and normal controls (n=23). Consistent with predictions, youth with ADHD committed more passive avoidance errors (PAEs) than controls during the latter trials of a computerized go/no go task with mixed incentives, and this effect remained significant or marginally significant even after common variance associated with variables that covary with ADHD (i.e., IQ, oppositional-defiant/conduct disorder [ODD/CD] symptoms, anxious/depressed mood) was removed. While a moderate inverse association was observed between PAE frequency and the amount of time spent viewing response feedback following punishment, both categorical (diagnostic) and dimensional analyses of ADHD symptomatology indicated that ADHD and reflection on punishment feedback are uniquely associated with PAE commission. Findings from this study are discussed in relation to models of disinhibition applicable to youth with ADHD.

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