Affective Decision-Making in School-Aged Children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

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Baker, Jodie
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Mount Saint Vincent University
Children and adolescents with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have been found to make a variety of poor life decisions in comparison to typically developing children and adolescents. To date, it is difficult to fully understand decisionmaking and draw firm conclusions from the literature given mixed findings and the limited application of a variety of decision-making tasks to this clinical population. The purpose of the present study was to examine the performance of school-aged children with ADHD in comparison to their typically developing peers on three affective decisionmaking tasks, the GDT, IGT and BART. The GDT was used to assess probabilistic discounting and risky decision-making, and the IGT and BART were used to assess both decisions under ambiguity and risk. As such, the current study asks three questions, (1) Do children and adolescents with ADHD make risky choices on a probabilistic discounting decision-making task (i.e., GDT)?, (2) Do children and adolescents with ADHD choose disadvantageously when making decisions with ambiguous outcomes (i.e., BART and IGT)?, and (3) Are comorbid symptoms of anxiety and depression in children and adolescents with ADHD associated with better performance on the GDT, IGT and BART? Eighteen high functioning individuals (IQ score > 80) between the ages of 8-16 meeting the clinical diagnosis of ADHD, as well as 18 typically developing comparison participants matched to the clinical sample on age, sex, and IQ participated in the study (N = 36). Overall, results suggest that school-aged children with ADHD make similar decisions to typically developing children and adolescents on probabilistic discounting tasks and tasks with ambiguous outcome, however in some areas their choices tend to be less advantageous and involve more risk.
Decision making in children , Attention-deficit-disordered children , Attention deficit disorder