Penn State University (2016) researchers recently found that young adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) demonstrate subtle physiological signs that may help provide a more accurate diagnosis and possible identification of types of ADHD. Their findings indicated that while engaged in a continuous motor task, individuals with ADHD had greater difficulty inhibiting motor responses and produced more force during the task compared to controls. This research allowed for a more precise measure of motor responses compared to previous assessments based on key-press response. Additionally, the amount of force was related to the self-report of ADHD symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
The goal of this research was reportedly to help differentiate subgroups of those diagnosed with ADHD, which aims to inform treatment and offer diagnostic specificity. The use of continuous performance tests (CPT) in ADHD assessments has yielded variable reviews, although the use of CPT in research has provided valuable information specific to ADHD (Bjorn, Uebel-von Sandersleben, Wiedmann, & Rothenberger, 2015). Regardless, research indicates that CPT provides information specific to sustained attention and impulsivity, and can be utilized as a tool to aid diagnosis and per Penn State researchers, possibly identify more subtle signs that could directly inform treatment and interventions.
Albrecht, B., Uebel-von Sanderslebem, H., Wiedmann, K., & Rothenberger, A. (2015). ADHD history of the concept: the case of the continuous performance test. Current Developmental Disorders Reports, 2(1), p. 10-22.
Penn State. (2016). Inhibitory motor control problems may be unique identifier in adults with ADHD. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161116103443.htm
Dannie Harris, MA
WKPIC Doctoral Intern