The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between executive functions (EFs), as measured by neuropsychological tests, and symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and comorbid behavior, as rated by parents and teachers. As intelligence and language ability are important covariates they were also assessed.
The sample consisted of 43 children aged 7–11 years who were referred for neuropsychological assessment at a tertiary clinical facility. Most of the children had the diagnosis of ADHD combined or inattentive type. Different aspects of EFs were assessed.
EFs were not significantly related to symptoms of ADHD, but only to comorbid symptoms of depression and autistic symptomatology. Language ability rather than EFs best predicted teacher ratings of inattention.
The results of the study do not support the EF theory of ADHD. The importance of screening for comorbid language disorders in children referred for ADHD is emphasized.