Associations of intellectual ability, inhibitory control, impulsiveness, cognitive flexibility and functional impairment in adults with ADHD Symptoms

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Izabella Trinta Paes
Mayara Miyahara Moraes Silva
Ana Paula Roim Micieli
Maria Cristina Triguero Veloz Teixeira
Luiz Renato Rodrigues Carreiro


Introduction: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with persistent levels of inattention, hyperactivity or impulsivity. Recommendations for ADHD diagnosis involve: six or more symptoms (or five considering adults), early childhood onset, presence of symptoms in two or more contexts and presence of functional impairment. Cognitive deficits, that affect inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility and impulsiveness, are present in ADHD and affect the course of the disorder. On the other hand, intellectual skill is a factor of protection to improve the development in people with ADHD.  This article explores how traits relate to functional impairments are relevant to ADHD description in terms of behavioral expression of the cognitive profile. Method: Forty-nine adults, between 20 and 68 years old, with symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity compatible with ADHD, with more than 4 years of schooling and absence of chronic illness, took part of this study. We collected data using screening instruments (ASRS-18, MMSE, and WASI) and main instruments (FDT, BIS-11, and EPF-ADHD). Results: The results have shown that higher intellectual indexes were associated with lower frequencies of academic impairment, while higher impulsivity levels, cognitive flexibility difficulties and inhibitory control, were associated with academic and social impairment. Conclusion: The results show that cognitive deficits were associated to impairment, in different life areas, of people with ADHD, and that some factors, as intellectual abilities, may prevent impairment in ADHD.


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Paes, I. T., Silva, M. M. M., Micieli, A. P. R., Teixeira, M. C. T. V., & Carreiro, L. R. R. (2019). Associations of intellectual ability, inhibitory control, impulsiveness, cognitive flexibility and functional impairment in adults with ADHD Symptoms. International Journal for Innovation Education and Research, 7(12), 216-224.


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