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

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Abstract

Background:

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.

Methods:

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.

Results:

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.

Conclusions:

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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