Effectiveness of Working Memory Training on Children and Adolescents Comorbid with ADHD and Other Externalizing Disorders
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Psychology Honors Theses; 2009
Working memory is a process used to momentarily store and manipulate information (Engle, 2004). Complex behaviors, such as behavioral inhibition, planning, reasoning, comprehension, and emotional regulation, are thought to be contingent on working memory ability (Barkley, 1997). Decreased working memory functioning, and therefore decreased ability in the aforementioned complex behaviors, has been found to be prevalent in individuals diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (Barkley, 1997; Castellanos and Tannock, 2002; Rapport et al. 2000). Past studies, Klingberg et al (2005) and Beck et al. (2009), have found working memory training to lead to improvements in several areas of working memory functioning and to a decrease in severity of ADHD symptoms among individuals who underwent the training. However, neither study assessed the effects of working memory training on children and adolescents comorbidly diagnosed with ADHD and an externalizing disorder, such as oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder. This study assessed the effects of Cogmed working memory training on populations comorbidly diagnosed with ADHD and one other externalizing disorder. Participants, who were between 7 and 17 years old, were organized into one group of individuals diagnosed with ADHD and another group of individuals comorbidly diagnosed with ADHD and one other externalizing disorder. Groups were compared using measures of ADHD and executive functioning, which were completed both before and after receiving working memory training. When compared, groups did not display any significant difference between their increments on the majority of measures. This study is thought to broaden the efficacy of working memory training to include children and adolescents comorbidly diagnosed with ADHD and either oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder.
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