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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 1998 Mar;39(3):411-25.

Response inhibition in AD/HD, CD, comorbid AD/HD + CD, anxious, and control children: a meta-analysis of studies with the stop task.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The aim of this study was to investigate whether impaired response inhibition is uniquely related to AD/HD or whether deficits in response inhibition are also evident in other psychopathological disorders. Furthermore, the suggestion was examined that anxiety disorders are associated with abnormally high levels of response inhibition. This paper presents the results of a meta-analysis of eight studies in which response inhibition was assessed with the so-called stop task in five groups of children: children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), children with conduct disorder (CD), children with AD/HD + CD, children with anxiety disorders, and control children. A total of 456 children participated in the 8 studies. All children were in the age range 6-12 years. Consistent and robust evidence was found for a response inhibition deficit in AD/HD. However, response inhibition deficits did not distinguish children with AD/HD from children with CD, nor from children with comorbid AD/HD + CD. Contrary to predictions, anxious children did not demonstrate enhanced levels of response inhibition.

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