Date of Submission
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Robert A DiThomaso, PhD, ABPP
George McCloskey, PhD, Chairperson
Shannon Sweitzer, PhD
Amy E McLaughlin, PsyD
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most frequently diagnosed disorders in children and adolescents. Individuals with ADHD often display behavioral symptoms, including inattention and/or impulsivity, which can also lead to struggles in the school setting. Current research has suggested that deficits in processing speed and working memory are common in individuals diagnosed with ADHD and are often seen on measures of cognitive ability. Positive outcomes have been associated with the use of psychostimulant medication to treat the symptoms of ADHD, although little research has supported this form of treatment to improve cognitive functioning in individuals diagnosed with ADHD. The current study replicated and expanded on Friedman (2006) and McLaughlin’s (2009) studies. The purpose of this study was to compare the cognitive profiles of children diagnosed with ADHD and a control sample. The cognitive profiles were analyzed at the Full Scale, Index, and Subtest levels. In addition, the current study sought to determine whether or not the medication status impacted performance on the cognitive measures. The results of this study indicated that individuals with ADHD did perform lower on measures of Full Scale IQ, Perceptual Reasoning, Working Memory and Processing Speed. It was also noted that the use of medication yielded higher performance, as compared with the nonmedicated ADHD group. At the subtest level analysis, ADHD individuals typically performed better on the following task pairs: they worked better on verbal reasoning than on working memory tasks; they were more successful with perceptual reasoning than with processing speed tasks. In addition, ADHD groups also performed roughly the same on the following task pairs: on nonverbal reasoning and working memory tasks, on verbal reasoning and processing speed, on verbal reasoning and perceptual reasoning, and on working memory and processing speed. Regarding medication status, positive trends were noted for medication use, but minimal statically significant results were found. Significant results were found in favor of medication use for the VCI > PSI and PRI > VCI comparisons.
Wimpenny, Lucy J., "Cognitive Profiles and the Impact of Medication on Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder" (2012). PCOM Psychology Dissertations. 205.