Development of Hot and Cold Executive Function in Boys and Girls With ADHD: A 2-Year Longitudinal Study

A growing consensus holds that ADHD is a developmental disorder, associated with impaired executive function (EF; Willcutt, Doyle, Nigg, Faraone, & Pennington, 2005).


Objective: To investigate the development of executive function with pronounced emotional salience (hot EF) and less pronounced emotional salience (cold EF) in boys and girls with ADHD relative to typically developing (TD) children.

Method: Seventy-five children with ADHD and 47 TD children were assessed with hot and cold EF tests at baseline and after 2 years.

Results: Despite considerable maturation, the ADHD group remained impaired on all cold EF tests relative to TD children after 2 years. There was no effect of gender on cold EF test results. Females with ADHD outperformed TD counterparts on hot EF at baseline. Females with ADHD showed deteriorating hot EF performance, while TD counterparts showed improved hot EF performance across time.

Conclusion: Enduring cold EF impairments after 2 years may reflect stable phenotypic traits in children with ADHD. Results indicate divergent developmental trajectories of hot EF in Girls with ADHD relative to TD counterparts.

Journal of Attention Disorders, 2014, DOI: 10.1177/1087054714524984

Published June 2, 2014 8:30 AM