Is the Motor Impairment in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) a Co-Occurring Deficit or a Phenotypic Characteristic?

Farran, E.K.; Bowler, A.; D'Souza, H.; Mayall, L.; Sumner, E.; Brady, D.; Karmiloff-Smith, A. and Hill, Elisabeth L.. 2020. Is the Motor Impairment in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) a Co-Occurring Deficit or a Phenotypic Characteristic? Advances in Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 4(3), pp. 253-270. ISSN 2366-7532 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Motor difficulties are often reported in individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The aims of this study are to detail the motor profile of children with ADHD and to determine whether the motor impairment present in a large proportion of children with ADHD represents a phenotypic characteristic of ADHD or a co-occurring deficit.
Participants with ADHD (N=51; age 8 to 15 years) and typically developing (TD) motor matched control children (N=75; age 4 to 11 years) completed the largest battery of assessments of motor function that have been used with this population to-date, as well as a measure of inhibition as a behavioural measure of ADHD characteristics. Parents/caregivers also completed questionnaires relating to ADHD symptomology and a retrospective report of their child’s motor milestone achievement.
A motor deficit was observed in 47% of our ADHD sample. Few relationships were observed between ADHD core characteristics and motor competence. Furthermore, there was an uneven profile of motor performance across different motor tasks, relative to the TD children. Interestingly, it appears that motor milestone achievement is not delayed in ADHD.
Our findings suggest that the motor deficit observed in ADHD is not inherent to ADHD. The motor deficit observed in some children with ADHD does not represent a simple delay in development, and is not observed in infancy with respect to reaching motor milestones.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; ADHD; motor development; motor milestones

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9 April 2020Accepted
4 June 2020Published Online
September 2020Published

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Date Deposited:

15 Apr 2020 10:31

Last Modified:

12 Jun 2021 07:12

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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