Reading comprehension deficits in children with ADHD are well-established; however, limited information exists concerning the cognitive mechanisms that contribute to these deficits and the extent to which they interact with one another. The current study examines two broad cognitive processes known to be involved in children's reading comprehension abilities—(a) working memory (i.e., central executive processes [CE], phonological short-term memory [PH STM], and visuospatial short-term memory [VS STM]) and (b) orthographic conversion—to elucidate their unique and interactive contribution to ADHD-related reading comprehension deficits. Thirty-one children with ADHD and 30 typically developing (TD) children aged 8 to 12 years (M = 9.64, SD = 1.22) were administered multiple counterbalanced tasks assessing WM and orthographic conversion processes. Relative to TD children, children with ADHD exhibited significant deficits in PH STM (d = -0.66), VS STM (d = -0.84), CE (d = -1.24) and orthographic conversion (d = -0.85). Bias-corrected, bootstrapped mediation analyses revealed that CE and orthographic conversion processes modeled separately, partially mediated ADHD-related reading comprehension impairments, whereas PH STM and VS STM did not. CE and orthographic conversion modeled jointly fully mediated ADHD-related reading comprehension deficits wherein orthographic conversion's large magnitude influence on reading comprehension occurred indirectly through CE's impact on the orthographic system. The findings suggest that adaptive cognitive interventions designed to improve reading-related outcomes in children with ADHD may benefit by including modules that train CE and orthographic conversion processes independently and interactively.
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Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Campus-only Access)
Friedman, Lauren, "Reading comprehension deficits in children with ADHD: The mediating roles of working memory and orthographic conversion" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4995.