Title

An Analysis of Memory Functioning in Attention and Learning Disorders

Date of Award

2002

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

D. Joe Olmi

Advisor Department

Psychology

Abstract

Research suggests that memory functioning is impaired in both Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and learning disabilities (LD), most commonly in the area of reading (RLD). To date, it remains unclear as to what memory difficulties these two disorders have in common that could contribute to this degree of comorbidity and unclear as to what memory difficulties are specific to each disorder. This study was an extension of Avis et al. (2000) in which working memory functioning in children with ADHD was evaluated. The purpose of the current study was to examine memory functioning among children with ADHD, children with LD in the area of reading comprehension (RLD), and controls using the Children's Memory Scale (Cohen, 1977). Both working memory and delayed memory measures were assessed. In addition, inhibition and selective attention were assessed using the Conners Continuous Performance Test (CCPT, Conners, 1995). Hypotheses for children with ADHD were based on a review of the literature and Barkley's (1997) theory of ADHD and self-control. Hypotheses for children with RLD were based on a review of the literature. One hundred, forty-eight children between the ages of 7 and 16 years participated. In general, hundred, forty-eight children between the ages of 7 and 16 years participated. In general, results indicated children with RLD scored lower than controls on most measures with the exception of one measure of delayed memory. Memory problems were not found in children with ADHD, with the exception of one measure of working memory. Contrary to Barkley's (1997) theory, no differences in memory performance among subtypes of ADHD were found. No differences were found on measures of inhibition and selective attention.