Is Increased Response Time Variability Related to Deficient Emotional Self-Regulation in Children With ADHD?

Document Type


Publication Date

July 2018


Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


OBJECTIVE: Elevated response time intrasubject variability (RT-ISV) characterizes ADHD. Deficient emotional self-regulation (DESR), defined by summating Child Behavior Checklist Anxious/Depressed, Aggressive, and Attention subscale scores, has been associated with worse outcome in ADHD. To determine if DESR is differentially associated with elevated RT-ISV, we examined RT-ISV in children with ADHD with and without DESR and in typically developing children (TDC). METHOD: We contrasted RT-ISV during a 6-min Eriksen Flanker Task in 31 children with ADHD without DESR, 34 with ADHD with DESR, and 65 TDC. RESULTS: Regardless of DESR, children with ADHD showed significantly greater RT-ISV than TDC ( p < .001). The ADHD subgroups, defined by presence or absence of DESR, did not differ from each other. CONCLUSION: Increased RT-ISV characterizes ADHD regardless of comorbid DESR. Alongside similar findings in children and adults with ADHD, these results suggest that RT-ISV is related to cognitive rather than emotional dysregulation in ADHD.