How ‘core’ are motor timing difficulties in ADHD? A latent class comparison of pure and comorbid ADHD classes

J.M.J. Meer, van der, C.A. Hartman, A.J.A.M. Thissen, A.M. Oerlemans, M. Luman, J.K. Buitelaar, N.N.J. Rommelse

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Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have motor timing difficulties. This study examined whether affected motor timing accuracy and variability are specific for ADHD, or that comorbidity with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) contributes to these motor timing difficulties. An 80-trial motor timing task measuring accuracy (μ), variability (σ) and infrequent long response times (τ) in estimating a 1-s interval was administered to 283 children and adolescents (8–17 years) from both a clinic and population based sample. They were divided into four latent classes based on the SCQ and CPRS-R:L data. These classes were: without behavioral problems ‘Normal-class’ (n = 154), with only ADHD symptoms ‘ADHD-class’ (n = 49), and two classes with both ASD and ADHD symptoms; ADHD(+ASD)-class (n = 39) and ASD(+ADHD)-class (n = 41). The pure ADHD-class did not deviate from the Normal class on any of the motor timing measures (mean RTs 916 and 925 ms, respectively). The comorbid ADHD(+ASD) and ASD(+ADHD) classes were significantly less accurate (more time underestimations) compared to the Normal class (mean RTs 847 and 870 ms, respectively). Variability in motor timing was reduced in the younger children in the ADHD(+ASD) class, which may reflect a tendency to rush the tedious task. Only patients with more severe behavioral symptoms show motor timing deficiencies. This cannot merely be explained by high ADHD severity with ASD playing no role, as ADHD symptom severity in the pure ADHD-class and the ASD(+ADHD) class was highly similar, with the former class showing no motor timing deficits.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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