Executive functions and ADHD in adults: Evidence for selective effects on ADHD symptom domains

Joel T. Nigg, Gillian Stavro, Mark Ettenhofer, David Z. Hambrick, Torri Miller, John M. Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

205 Scopus citations


Dual-process models of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) suggest that both executive functioning and regulatory functions (e.g., processing speed) are involved and that executive function weaknesses may be associated specifically with symptoms of inattention-disorganization but not hyperactivity-impulsivity. Adults aged 18-37 (105 with ADHD, 90 controls) completed a neuropsychological battery. The ADHD group had weaker performance than did the control group (p < .01) on both executive and speed measures. Symptoms of inattention-disorganization were uniquely related to executive functioning with hyperactivity-impulsivity controlled. Inattention was associated with slower response speed, and hyperactivity-impulsivity with faster output speed. Results were not accounted for by IQ, age, gender, education level, or comorbid disorders. Findings are discussed in terms of developmental and dual-process models of ADHD leading into adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)706-717
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • ADHD
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Dual-process model
  • Executive functioning
  • Regulatory functions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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