Questionnaire ratings of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults are associated with spatial working memory.

European psychiatry : the journal of the Association of European Psychiatrists

PubMedID: 17141483

Dowson JH, Blackwell AD, Turner DC, Harvey E, Malhotra T, Robbins TW, Sahakian BJ. Questionnaire ratings of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults are associated with spatial working memory. Eur Psychiatry. 2007;22(4):256-63.
OBJECTIVE
Data related to brain function may have the potential to improve the reliability and validity of assessments for the aetiologically and clinically heterogeneous syndrome of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This study investigated associations between questionnaire assessments of behavioural features of adults with ADHD and an aspect of neurocognitive performance which has been reported to be impaired in adults with ADHD.

METHODS
Fifty-nine adult patients with a DSM-IV diagnosis of ADHD, and their informants, completed questionnaires related to aspects of severity of ADHD. Associations were examined between questionnaire ratings and performance on a computer-administered task of spatial working memory (SWM).

RESULTS
Correlations between ratings of ADHD and SWM indicated moderate but significant correlations for patients' ratings, but not for informants' ratings. Also, patients who reported a past history of 'self-harm' (N=33) had a significantly worse mean performance on both measures of SWM (p=0.004, 0.003).

CONCLUSIONS
The results indicate that aspects of impulsivity, i.e. self-ratings of 'emotive' behaviour (involving rapid response to stimuli and marked reactivity of mood) and of past 'self-harm', show relatively strong associations with SWM performance in adults selected on the basis of an ADHD diagnosis. A profile of neurocognitive performances may have a role in the assessment of ADHD.