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Indexing Executive Functions with Test Scores, Parent Ratings and ERPs: How Do the Measures Relate in Children versus Adolescents with ADHD?

Journal article
Authors Linda Angelica Häger
Geir Ögrim
M. Danielsen
Eva Billstedt
Christopher Gillberg
Jakob Åsberg Johnels
Published in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
Volume 16
Pages 465-477
ISSN 1178-2021
Publication year 2020
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Pharmacology
Pages 465-477
Language en
Keywords executive functions, ADHD, electrophysiology, ratings, event related, potentials, cognitive control, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, performance-based measures, inhibitory control, behavior, task, components, inventory, validity, deficits, impact, Neurosciences & Neurology, Psychiatry
Subject categories Neurosciences


Objective: Rating scales and neuropsychological tests including continuous performance tests (CPTs) are widely used to assess executive functions (EFs). Event-related potentials (ERPs) are also used to index certain EFs such as action preparation and inhibition. In this descriptive study, we examined the associations between results on an EF rating scale, a CPT and ERP components in ADHD as a function of age. Methods: Fifty-nine patients with ADHD (and more often than not with comorbid disorders) in two age groups (9-12 years and 13-17 years) were assessed using EF ratings, a visual CPT and ERPs (CueP3, P3go and P3no-go). Results: There were age related changes in the ERPs with the CueP3 amplitude being stronger in children, and the P3no-go amplitude stronger in adolescents. The associations between the EF measures were different in the two age groups. In particular, the P3no-go seemed to reflect different EF-related processes in children versus adolescents. Conclusion: Age group effects were seen on a selection of ERP amplitudes in this sample of patients with ADHD. Ratings, test scores and EF-related ERPs seem to capture different aspects of EF in ADHD, and the associations differed depending on age group. The results show that different measures of EF are not interchangeable and highlight the importance of age when interpreting ERPs.

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