Effects of IQ on executive function measures in children with ADHD

E. Mark Mahone, Kathleen M. Hagelthorn, Laurie E. Cutting, Linda J. Schuerholz, Shelley F. Pelletier, Christine Rawlins, Harvey S. Singer, Martha B. Denckla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study compared children with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and controls on a selected set of clinical measures of executive function (EF). A total of 92 children (51 ADHD, 41 control), ages 6-16, completed measures chosen from a larger neuropsychological battery to illustrate diverse components of the EF construct (planning, inhibitory control, response preparation, memory search). The selected measures were moderately correlated with one another, and moderately correlated with IQ. After controlling for age, sex, presence of learning disability (LD), ADHD, and IQ test version, Full Scale IQ was significantly related to four of the five selected EF measures. A second analysis showed group differences on the EF measures at different IQ levels. After covarying for age, there was a significant multivariate effect for IQ level (average, high average, superior) and a significant multivariate interaction between group (ADHD vs. control) and IQ level. Three of the five selected EF measures showed significant univariate group effects (controls performing better than ADHD) at the average IQ level; however, there were no significant group differences between children with ADHD and controls at high average or superior IQ levels. These results suggest that clinical measures of EF may differ among children with ADHD and controls at average IQ levels, but there is poorer discriminatory power for these measures among children with above average IQ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-65
Number of pages14
JournalChild Neuropsychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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