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Psychiatry Res. 2005 Sep 15;136(2-3):123-33.

Impulsivity in depressed children and adolescents: a comparison between behavioral and neuropsychological data.

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Child Psychiatry Unit, Scientific Institute 'Eugenio Medea', via Don Luigi Monza 20, 23842 Bosisio Parini (LC), Italy.


Impulsivity at the neuropsychological and behavioral levels was investigated in a sample of drug-naive depressed children and adolescents. The performance of 21 patients with a current diagnosis of mood disorder was compared with that of 21 normal controls on tests of executive functions related to impulsivity (Matching Familiar Figures Test, Continuous Performance Test, Verbal Fluency, Stroop Test, and Walk-Don't Walk) and on impulsive/restless behavior on the Conners' Parent Rating Scale. Depressed children and adolescents showed a pattern of conservative response style, with slow reaction times and attentional problems, similar to that observed in adults, and a general delay/difficulty in response initiation on the Fluency Test. Depressed participants were rated by their parents as being significantly more impulsive/restless than controls. However, there was no evidence of an impulsive cognitive response style in more impulsive/restless patients. Symptom severity (Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression) and subjective mood state (Children's Depression Inventory) were also taken into account.

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