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Does Childhood Executive Function Predict Adolescent Functional Outcomes in Girls with ADHD?


We prospectively followed an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse sample of preadolescent girls with ADHD (n = 140) and matched comparison girls (n = 88) over a period of 5 years, from middle childhood through early/mid-adolescence. Our aim was to examine the ability of measures of childhood executive function (EF) to predict functional outcomes in adolescence. Measures of neuropsychological functioning comprised the childhood predictors, with academic, social, and global functioning serving as adolescent criterion measures. Results indicated that childhood EF predicted (a) academic achievement and social functioning across our entire sample (independent of diagnostic group status) and (b) global functioning only in girls with ADHD (independent of IQ). These results highlight the non-specificity of EF deficits and suggest the importance of assessing and developing interventions that target EF impairments, particularly in those at high-risk for negative outcomes, in order to prevent long-term difficulties across a range of important functional domains.

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