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J Consult Clin Psychol. 2002 Feb;70(1):153-7.

Inhibitory processes in adults with persistent childhood onset ADHD.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824-1117, USA.


The theory that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) stems from a deficit in an executive behavioral inhibition process has been little studied in adults, where the validity of ADHD is in debate. This study examined, in high-functioning young adults with persistent ADHD and a control group, 2 leading measures of inhibitory control: the antisaccad task and the negative priming task. ADHD adults showed weakened ability to effortfully stop a refle ve or anticipated oculomotor response but had normal ability to automatically suppress irrelevant information. Results suggest that an inhibitory deficit in ADHD is confined to effortful inhibition of motor response, that antisaccade and negative priming tasks index distinct inhibition systems, and that persistence of ADHD symptoms into adulthood is associated with persistence of executive motor inhibition deficits.

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