Psychological heterogeneity in AD/HD: A dual pathway model of behaviour and cognition

Sonuga-Barke, Edmund J.S. (2002) Psychological heterogeneity in AD/HD: A dual pathway model of behaviour and cognition Behavioural Brain Research, 130, (1-2), pp. 29-36. (doi:10.1016/S0166-4328(01)00432-6).


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Psychological accounts have characterised attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) as either a neuro-cognitive disorder of regulation or a motivational style. Poor inhibitory control is thought to underpin AD/HD children's dysregulation while delay aversion is a dominant characteristic of their motivational style.
A recent ‘head to head’ study of these two accounts suggest that delay aversion and poor inhibitory control are independent co-existing characteristics of AD/HD (combined type). In the present paper we build on these findings to propose a dual pathway model of AD/HD that recognises two quite distinct sub-types of the disorder. In one AD/HD is the result of the dysregulation of action and thought resulting from poor inhibitory control associated with the meso-cortical branch of the dopamine system projecting in the cortical control centres (e.g. pre-frontal cortex).
In the other AD/HD is a motivational style characterised by an altered delay of reward gradient linked to the meso-limbic dopamine branch associated with the reward circuits (e.g. nucleus accumbens). The two pathways are further distinguished at the levels of symptoms, cognitive and motivation profiles and genetic and non-genetic origins.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1016/S0166-4328(01)00432-6
ISSNs: 0166-4328 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder, heterogeneity, inhibitory control, executive function, delay aversion, dopamine, meso-limbic, meso-cortical, birth complications

ePrint ID: 18277
Date :
Date Event
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2006
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 23:12
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