Heterogeneity in ADHD: Autonomic, Behavior, Emotion, and Treatment Response. Grant

Heterogeneity in ADHD: Autonomic, Behavior, Emotion, and Treatment Response. .


  • Project Summary/AbstractEmotion reactivity, self-regulation, and effortful control are increasingly recognized as core disruptions inattention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This study logically follows prior work of PI Musser, co-I Nigg,and colleagues, as well as others in the field, who have begun to examine the roles of these cognitive andemotion factors in ADHD. In prior samples, it has been demonstrated that: 1) ADHD is associated withdisruptions in emotional reactivity and regulation (i.e., behavioral and biological), 2) behavioral individualdifferences observed in ADHD (e.g., surgency, irritability) are explained in part by differential patterns ofbehavioral and biological emotional reactivity and regulation, 3) cognitive heterogeneity observed in ADHD(e.g., working memory deficits) is explained in part by disruptions in regulation, and 4) ADHD is associated withdisruptions in biological and behavioral reward/punishment sensitivity. Thus, theoretical frameworks describingroles of emotion reactivity and both implicit and explicitly regulatory processes as multiple pathways in theexpression of ADHD have been supported by this work. Replication of these effects in additional samples isneeded to better understand the nature of these associations. Additionally, the degree to which these cognitiveand emotion factors may explain individual differences in treatment response in ADHD by serving as potentialas mechanisms of change in response to stimulant medications has yet to be investigated. Understandingcognitive and emotional factors' roles in treatment response has the potential to both inform clinical practiceand broader ADHD etiological theory. This study takes advantage of co-I Pelham's Tolerance Study (R01MH00990303-01), a double-blind, cross-over design examining stimulant medication (OROS Methylphenidate)tolerance in children with ADHD. 240 ADHD children will undergo an intake procedure to enter the 8 weekSummer Treatment Program (STP). During the first two weeks of the STP, OROS will be titrated to an optimaldose for each child. Children will be randomly assigned: placebo (n=120) or ORSO (n=120) for three weeks.Children will be placed in the cross-over condition for an additional 3 weeks. The proposed study will askenrolled participants of the Tolerance Study, as well as 120 community-recruited controls to complete aprotocol examining the roles of emotion reactivity, self-regulation, and effortful control in 1) heterogeneity inADHD behavioral profiles, 2) heterogeneity in ADHD treatment response, and 3) mechanisms of changeunderlying response to stimulant medications. All participants (both ADHD and controls) will complete the taskbattery for the proposed study, including an emotion induction and suppression, emotional go/no-go, standardgo/no-go, spatial span, and reward delay, while psychophysiological data are collected via electrocardiogram,impedance cardiogram, and electrodermal activity. This research will be of interest to researchers with in thefield of ADHD etiology and treatment, as well as to practitioners interested in improving treatment response.

date/time interval

  • July 8, 2016 - June 30, 2019

sponsor award ID

  • 5R03MH110812-02

local award ID

  • AWD000000006109



  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Autonomic nervous system disorders
  • Behavior
  • Behavior Disorders
  • Behavioral
  • Behavioral Symptoms
  • Biological
  • Biological Process
  • Child
  • Childhood
  • Clinical
  • Clinical assessments
  • Cognit
  • Cognition
  • aged
  • base
  • clinical practice