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Are sluggish cognitive tempo symptoms associated with executive functioning in preschoolers?

Authors
  • Tamm, Leanne1
  • Brenner, Sarah B2
  • Bamberger, Morgan E1
  • Becker, Stephen P1
  • 1 a Department of Pediatrics , Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center , Cincinnati , OH , USA.
  • 2 b Department of School Psychology , Central Michigan University , Mt Pleasant , MI , USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Child Neuropsychology
Publisher
Informa UK (Taylor & Francis)
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2018
Volume
24
Issue
1
Pages
82–105
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/09297049.2016.1225707
PMID: 27622982
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

The aim of this study is to investigate whether sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT) symptoms are associated with neurocognitive task performance and ratings of real-world executive functioning (EF) in preschoolers at risk for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The associations between parent- and teacher-rated SCT symptoms and neuropsychological task performance and ratings of EF in 61 4-year-old preschool children (51 boys, 10 girls) with self-regulation difficulties were examined, with regression analyses controlling for the effects of ADHD inattention symptoms. In the study sample, higher teacher-rated SCT symptoms are significantly associated with poorer performance on tasks of visual-perceptual abilities, auditory and visual attention, sustained and selective attention, inhibitory control, pre-numerical/numerical concepts, and slower processing speed, but SCT symptoms are not significantly associated with working memory, attention shifting or cognitive flexibility when controlling for ADHD inattention. Higher parent-rated SCT symptoms are significantly associated with visual-perceptual abilities. ADHD inattention symptoms are more strongly associated than SCT with daily life EF ratings; neither parent- nor teacher-rated SCT symptoms are significantly associated with daily life ratings of inhibition, working memory, or planning/organization after controlling for ADHD inattention. This study suggests that SCT symptoms contribute to EF deficits at least on neurocognitive tasks assessing visual-perceptual/spatial abilities, attention to detail and processing speed, as observed in this sample of young children at risk for ADHD, and may be an important intervention target.

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