Verbal fluency in adults diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in childhood
It has been increasingly believed that attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder with lifelong course associated with cognitive difficulties including among others, language production, verbal learning, and verbal fluency. However, research is limited to children and adolescents, and very few researchers have examined the impact of ADHD in adulthood on the cognitive domain. The aim of the present study is to examine the performance of adults, diagnosed with ADHD in childhood, on semantic and phonemic verbal fluency tasks. It is hypothesized that adults with ADHD will perform worse on both tasks than matched controls. Sixty university students (30 diagnosed with ADHD in childhood and 30 matched controls) of mean age 20.5 participated in the study. They all completed two verbal fluency tasks. The ADHD group had statistically significant lower scores than the non-ADHD group on the phonemic, but not the semantic task. The study provides some evidence that ADHD in childhood has a negative impact on adults' phonemic verbal fluency. This finding could be probably explained by the fact that phonemic fluency is considered more cognitively demanding and impacting more on the frontal lobe functions, known to be impaired in ADHD, than semantic fluency. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Wien.