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Relationship between reaction time variability and motor skill development in ADHD

Relationship between reaction time variability and motor skill development in ADHD

Child Neuropsychology 18(6): 576-585

Slower and more variable reaction times to computerized tasks have been documented in children diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Recent research supports a role for attentional lapses in generating abnormally variable and slow responses. However, given the association between ADHD and impairments in motor control, we hypothesized that slower or more variable reaction times might also correlate with motor development. The aim of this case-control study was to explore the relationship between motor function, reaction speed and variability, and ADHD. After comprehensive educational and clinical assessments, motor skill development was evaluated in 35 children ages 9 to 14 (19 with ADHD) using the Physical and Neurological Examination for Subtle Signs (PANESS) test battery. Finger-sequencing speed and variability were quantified with goniometers. Reaction times were measured with 20 trials each of computerized simple and choice (binary) tasks. Compared to healthy controls, children with ADHD had slower and more variable reaction times, and these findings correlated with impaired motor development (PANESS) and slow and variable finger sequencing (goniometers). Further studies of motor development in ADHD may identify factors influencing speed and variability of reaction times.

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Accession: 036479289

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PMID: 22111593

DOI: 10.1080/09297049.2011.625356

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