Abstract

The study was designed to investigate whether children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) demonstrate a deficit in multitasking, measured by their performance on a modified Six Elements Test designed for use with children (C-SET). The C-SET was administered to 38 children, aged 7–13. The subjects comprised two groups: an ADHD sample (n=19) and a community control sample (n=19). The results show that the ADHD group performed significantly worse on the C-SET, in that they attempted fewer tasks than the control group. However, they did not commit more rule breaks. These findings suggest that children with ADHD did not have problems with retrospective memory, as they were as able to remember the rules as the control group. Rather, the ADHD children appeared to have a specific deficit in monitoring their ongoing behaviors and generating useful strategies for task completion, as indicated by the decreased number of tasks attempted compared to the control group. The number of tasks tried on the C-SET correlated significantly with a measure of working memory, but not with a measure of response inhibition. C-SET total tasks tried also correlated with all subscales of the Conner’s Parent Rating Scale—Revised (Short Version). The C-SET appears to be a useful measure of rule-governed multitasking behavior in children.