Slow Processing Speed and Sluggish Cognitive Tempo in Pediatric ADHD: Evidence for Differentiation of Functional Correlates
Cook NE, Braaten EB, Vuijk PJ, Lee BA, Samkavitz AR, Doyle AE, Surman CBH.
Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 2019 Jun 21.
Commentary* by Dr. Margaret Weiss: The demonstration that processing speed impacts academic achievement begs the question of whether accommodations for processing speed such as extra time are effective in mitigating this outcome. The demonstration that SCT impacts adaptive functioning is intriguing and should be further assessed to open the door to development of SCT intervention strategies.
The association between slow processing speed and sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT), a phenotype described within attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) samples over the past decade, remains unclear. We examined whether SCT and processing speed predict different functional correlates within children and adolescents with ADHD. Participants were 193 clinically-referred youth meeting DSM ADHD criteria without comorbid conditions (mean age = 9.9 years, SD = 2.5; age range 6-16).
The incremental utility of SCT and processing speed to predict (1) adaptive functioning and (2) academic achievement, after controlling for age, sex, medication status, and ADHD symptom burden, was assessed using hierarchical multiple regressions. SCT symptoms significantly predicted adaptive functioning, accounting for 6% of the variance, but did not predict academic achievement. Processing speed did not add incrementally to the prediction of adaptive functioning, but did predict academic achievement, accounting for 4% of the variance. Results suggest that SCT and processing
* Abstracts are selected for their clinical relevance by Dr. Margaret Weiss, Director of Clinical Research, Child Psychiatry, Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard University. Her commentary reflects her own opinion, is not approved, or necessarily representative, of the opinion of the CADDRA board.