Abstract

The present study was designed to investigate the hypothesis that children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder combined subtype (ADHD-C) have a generalized executive functioning (EF) [Barkley, R. A. (1997). Behavioural inhibition, sustained attention, and executive functions: Constructing a unifying theory of AD/HD. Psychological Bulletin, 121, 65–94; Barkley, R. A. (1997). ADHD and the nature of self-control. New York: The Guilford Press]. We tested whether ADHD-C and ADHD inattentive subtype (ADHD-I) can be differentiated from each other on EF measures. We compared 16 normally developing boys with 16 boys with ADHD-C and 16 with ADHD-I on five EF domains. The boys were all matched on age, IQ, and the presence of oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)/conduct disorder (CD). Despite carefully diagnosed groups and methodological controls, the results do not support the EF-hypothesis of ADHD-C. Children with ADHD-C differed from normal controls (NC) on tasks related to inhibition; they did not exhibit EF deficits on all EF tasks. Children with ADHD-C also exhibited deficits on non-EF tasks. Furthermore, the ADHD-C and ADHD-I subtypes did not differ from one another. Neuropsychological findings on the domains under study did not yield evidence for the distinctiveness of ADHD-C and ADHD-I subtypes.