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Investigating the associations between irritability and hot and cool executive functioning in those with ADHD

Colonna, Silvia, Eyre, Olga, Agha, Sharifah Shameem, Thapar, Anita ORCID:, van Goozen, Stephanie ORCID: and Langley, Kate ORCID: 2022. Investigating the associations between irritability and hot and cool executive functioning in those with ADHD. BMC Psychiatry 22 , 166. 10.1186/s12888-022-03818-1

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Background Irritability is especially pertinent to those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as it is highly prevalent and associated with a more severe clinical presentation and poorer longitudinal outcomes. Preliminary evidence suggests that top-down cognitive processes taking place in emotional contexts (i.e., hot executive functions) as opposed to those evoked in abstract scenarios (i.e., cool executive functions) may be relevant to the presentation of irritability in ADHD. This study explored the cognitive mechanisms underlying irritability in young people with ADHD, hypothesising that irritability would be associated with hot, but not cool, executive function impairments. Methods Our sample included 219 individuals with ADHD. A composite irritability score was derived extracting items from a parent interview, with scores ranging from 0 to 5. Associations were investigated using linear regression analyses, between irritability and four hot tasks measuring sensitivity to risk, risk-taking behaviour following reward or punishment, acceptance of reward delay and reaction to unfair behaviour from others, and two cool tasks measuring set-shifting and motor inhibition. Results As hypothesised, there were no significant associations between irritability and cool executive functions in those with ADHD; however, contrary to expectations, there was also no significant evidence that hot executive functions were associated with irritability. Conclusions These results, in a large well characterised sample and using a comprehensive task battery, suggest that the variation in irritability in those with ADHD may not be associated with differences in hot or cool executive function performance.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Publisher: BioMed Central
ISSN: 1471-244X
Funders: MRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 24 February 2022
Date of Acceptance: 24 February 2022
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2023 21:26

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