Causal models of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: from common simple deficits to multiple developmental pathways

Sonuga-Barke, Edmund J.S. (2005) Causal models of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: from common simple deficits to multiple developmental pathways. Biological Psychiatry, 57, (11), 1231-1238. (doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2004.09.008).


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Until recently, causal models of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have tended to focus on the role of common, simple, core deficits. One such model highlights the role of executive dysfunction due to deficient inhibitory control resulting from disturbances in the frontodorsal striatal circuit and associated mesocortical dopaminergic branches.

An alternative model presents ADHD as resulting from impaired signaling of delayed rewards arising from disturbances in motivational processes, involving frontoventral striatal reward circuits and mesolimbic branches terminating in the ventral striatum, particularly the nucleus accumbens. In the present article, these models are elaborated in two ways. First, they are each placed within their developmental context by consideration of the role of person × environment correlation and interaction and individual adaptation to developmental constraint.

Second, their relationship to one another is reviewed in the light of recent data suggesting that delay aversion and executive functions might each make distinctive contributions to the development of the disorder. This provides an impetus for theoretical models built around the idea of multiple neurodevelopmental pathways. The possibility of neuropathologic heterogeneity in ADHD is likely to have important implications for the clinical management of the condition, potentially impacting on both diagnostic strategies and treatment options.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2004.09.008
Additional Information: Advancing the neuroscience of ADHD
ISSNs: 0006-3223 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder, causal models, executive function, delay aversion, development, dopamine
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Psychology > Division of Clinical Neuroscience
ePrint ID: 40518
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2006
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:11

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