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Unique and overlapping contributions of sustained attention and working memory to parent and teacher ratings of inattentive behavior

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posted on 2022-01-17, 09:43 authored by Éadaoin J. Slattery, Patrick RyanPatrick Ryan, Dónal G. Fortune, Laura P. McAvinue
Sustained attention and working memory are two closely inter-twined executive functions that may underlie inattentive behavior. However, little research has teased apart their precise contributions in a single study. This study examines the extent to which ratings of children’s inattentive behavior are associated with these executive functions. Specifically, we investigated the unique and overlapping statistical contributions of sustained attention capacity and working memory capacity to parent and teacher ratings of inattentive behavior (operationalized as scores on both the Inattentive and Hyperactive/Impulsive scales of the Conners’ Rating Scale), while controlling for IQ. Children aged 8–11 years completed measures of sustained attention capacity, working memory capacity and IQ. Parents and teachers completed Conners-3 Parent and Teacher Short Forms, as a measure of inattentive behavior. We found that the unique statistical contribution of sustained attention capacity emerged as the most important factor in both parent and teacher ratings of inattentive behavior, with effects of moderate magnitude. In contrast, working memory capacity accounted for a small amount of variance. The overlap between sustained attention and working memory explained a small but substantive amount of variance in inattentive behavior. These findings support the idea that sustained attention and working memory are distinct executive functions that may contribute to goal-directed behavior both uniquely and through their interactions

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History

Publication

Child Neuropsychology;

Publisher

Routledge Taylor & Francis

Note

peer-reviewed

Other Funding information

IRC

Language

English

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