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Reaction Time Variability Associated with Reading Skills in Poor Readers with ADHD

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 February 2014

Leanne Tamm*
Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
Jeffery N. Epstein
Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
Carolyn A. Denton
Pediatrics, University of Texas Health Science Center Houston, Houston, Texas
Aaron J. Vaughn
Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
James Peugh
Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
Erik G. Willcutt
Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
Correspondence and reprint requests to: Leanne Tamm, Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Avenue MLC 10006, Cincinnati, OH 45229-3039. E-mail:


Linkages between neuropsychological functioning (i.e., response inhibition, processing speed, reaction time variability) and word reading have been documented among children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and children with Reading Disorders. However, associations between neuropsychological functioning and other aspects of reading (i.e., fluency, comprehension) have not been well-documented among children with comorbid ADHD and Reading Disorder. Children with ADHD and poor word reading (i.e., ≤25th percentile) completed a stop signal task (SST) and tests of word reading, reading fluency, and reading comprehension. Multivariate multiple regression was conducted predicting the reading skills from SST variables [i.e., mean reaction time (MRT), reaction time standard deviation (SDRT), and stop signal reaction time (SSRT)]. SDRT predicted word reading, reading fluency, and reading comprehension. MRT and SSRT were not associated with any reading skill. After including word reading in models predicting reading fluency and reading comprehension, the effects of SDRT were minimized. Reaction time variability (i.e., SDRT) reflects impairments in information processing and failure to maintain executive control. The pattern of results from this study suggest SDRT exerts its effects on reading fluency and reading comprehension through its effect on word reading (i.e., decoding) and that this relation may be related to observed deficits in higher-level elements of reading. (JINS, 2014, 20, 1–10)

Research Articles
Copyright © The International Neuropsychological Society 2014 

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