Executive functions and developmental psychopathology

Bruce F. Pennington, Sally J Ozonoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2039 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this paper, we consider the domain of executive functions (EFs) and their possible role in developmental psychopathologies. We first consider general theoretical and measurement issues involved in studying EFs and then review studies of EFs in four developmental psychopathologies: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder (CD), autism, and Tourette syndrome (TS). Our review reveals that EF deficits are consistently found in both ADHD and autism but not in CD (without ADHD) or in TS. Moreover, both the severity and profile of EF deficits appears to differ across ADHD and autism. Molar EF deficits are more severe in the latter than the former. In the few studies of more specific EF tasks, there are impairments in motor inhibition in ADHD but not in autism, whereas there are impairments in verbal working memory in autism but not ADHD. We close with a discussion of implications for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-87
Number of pages37
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Volume37
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1996
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Conduct disorder
  • Executive functions
  • Tourette syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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