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Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 2008 Apr;17(2):367-84, ix. doi: 10.1016/j.chc.2007.11.008.

Executive dysfunction and delay aversion in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: nosologic and diagnostic implications.

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  • 1School of Psychology, Institute for Disorder on Impulse and Attention, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK.


In this article the authors reflect on the role of executive function (EF) deficits and delay aversion (DAv) in the diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The authors, empirical review shows clearly that EF deficits and DAv are implicated in ADHD, although neither is necessary for ADHD nor specific to it. The constructs are somewhat dissociable from one another so that each may represent a distinctive feature associated with an ADHD subsample. The authors argue that neither EF deficits nor DAv add much value to the diagnosis of ADHD as it is currently conceptualized, but may be crucial in helping to partition heterogeneity in the condition, leading to the refinement of ADHD nosology.

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