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Rev Neurol. 2008 Jul 1-15;47(1):39-45.

[Emotional alterations in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: existing data and open questions].

[Article in Spanish]

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Departamento de Psicología Biológica y de la Salud, Facultad de Psicología, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, España.



Research on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has focused mainly on cognitive aspects, leaving in the background the study of the affective deficiencies accompanying the disorder.


To review the research on emotional competence of children, teenagers and adults with ADHD (recognition, regulation, and expression of emotions), and identify which issues have been scarcely studied yet and require further attention.


Convergent data from different behavioral studies indicate that children as well as adults with ADHD show a primary dysfunction in the recognition of emotional stimuli (facial expression and affective prosody), and an important disability to modulate their emotions, specially the negative ones. Nevertheless, the existing knowledge concerning the emotional dysfunctions in ADHD is limited, and several open questions, most of them concerning the neural basis underlying these dysfunctions, still remain.


The present review highlights the need to develop new research in the study of emotional dysfunctions in ADHD using not only behavioral measures, but also cerebral activity measures, and to assess and treat emotional problems in the clinical practice.

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