Neuropsychological functioning in childhood-onset psychosis and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

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Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and childhood-onset psychosis (COP) are chronic, heterogeneous disorders with symptoms that frequently co-occur, but the etiology of their comorbidity is unknown. Studies of each disorder indicate that both ADHD and COP are associated with a range of neuropsychological weaknesses, but few neuropsychological studies have directly compared groups with ADHD and COP.


Groups with ADHD only (32 F, 48 M), COP only (5 F, 5 M), ADHD + COP (9 F, 21 M), and a control group with neither disorder (25 F, 44 M) completed a neuropsychological battery that included measures of verbal working memory, response inhibition, response speed and variability, and selective attention.


All three clinical groups exhibited significantly lower performance versus the control group on all neuropsychological measures, whereas the only significant difference between the clinical groups was a significantly larger weakness in verbal working memory in the groups with COP.


The frequent co-occurrence between COP and ADHD may reflect shared neuropsychological weaknesses that are most pronounced on measures of working memory and response variability.

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