Executive function in adolescents with ADHD

Michelle Martel, Molly Nikolas, Joel T. Nigg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to clarify executive function weakness in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) during adolescence and determine the specificity of executive function weakness to ADHD symptom domains. METHOD: A total of 182 adolescents (105 boys), ages 13 to 17 years, completed a multistage diagnostic assessment; 85 were diagnosed with ADHD: 43 primarily Inattentive type (ADHD-PI) and 42 Combined type (ADHD-C). Participants completed the Stop, Trail Making, Wisconsin Card Sort, and Stroop tasks. RESULTS: The ADHD group exhibited impaired performance compared with the non-ADHD group on executive function measures (multivariate p < .05); there were no ADHD subtype differences. A composite executive function factor was significantly related to inattentive but not hyperactive-impulsive symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Executive function weakness in adolescent ADHD is specifically related to symptoms of inattention-disorganization. Results are congruent with a dual-pathway model of ADHD cognitive mechanisms. Copyright 2007

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1437-1444
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Executive function
  • Subtype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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