Investigating the relationship between attention and working memory in clinical and community samples

Tracy Alloway, Julian Elliott, Maurice Place

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The first aim of the present study was to investigate whether differences in core deficits in ADHD subtypes lead to dissociable working memory profiles. The second aim was to compare the working memory profiles of inattentive students with those identified as having poor working memory, as they exhibit very similar behavioral profiles. Finally, the relationship between working memory and academic attainment in these groups were also of interest. Four groups of 9-year-olds were recruited: a community sample of children with inattentive symptoms, a clinically diagnosed group of children with ADHD-Combined, children with low working memory, and a healthy comparison group. They were assessed on measures of working memory, IQ, academic attainment, and sustained attention. The findings indicated that the combined and inattentive subtypes could not be distinguished on the basis of their working memory profile. In contrast, those with inattentive symptoms did better on the short-term memory tasks than the low working memory group. The majority of all three atypical groups performed very poorly in reading and math. This pattern can be interpreted as reflecting the link between working memory and academic attainment, even in those with attention problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-254
JournalChild Neuropsychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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