Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Analysis of Two Competing Theories

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Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Richard Wielkiewicz, Psychology


Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a pervasive disorder that affects the lives of 3% to 7% of school-age children. Children diagnosed with ADHD usually display challenges in three broad areas of behavior: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. The purpose of this research was to re-examine two competing theories for the cause of ADHD. Barkley's theory states that response inhibition is the primary executive function deficit that then gives rise to secondary deficits. However, Rapport and colleagues believe that working memory is actually the primary executive function deficit. Through various multiple regression analyses, research shows that working memory is a better predictor for attention problems in children with ADHD. Although response inhibition is a better predictor for aggression problems and conduct problems, a measure of hyperactivity is needed for a true representation of the motor behavior deficits in children with ADHD. Future research should also focus on the over-diagnosis of ADHD.