Abstract

Tillman, C., Brocki, K. C., Sorensen, L., & Lundervold, A. J. (2013) A longitudinal examination of the developmental executive function hierarchy in children with externalizing behavior problems Journal of Attention Disorders, XX, xxx-xxx.



Objective: Using a 4-year longitudinal design, we evaluated two hypotheses based on developmental executive function (EF) hierarchy accounts in a sample of children with externalizing problems. Method: The participants performed EF tasks when they were between 8 and 12 years (M = 9.93), and again approximately 4 years later when they were between 12 and 15 years (M = 13.36). Results: Inhibition in middle childhood predicted working memory (WM) 4 years later. Further, deficits in inhibition and sustained attention were more prominent in middle rather than late childhood, whereas poor WM was salient throughout these periods. Conclusions: These findings support the hypotheses that EFs develop hierarchically and that EF deficits in ADHD are more prominent in actively developing EFs. They also emphasize ADHD as a developmental disorder.