Children with ADHD have well documented deficiencies in phonological (word-based) short term memory (PHSTM) and covert rehearsal mechanisms; however, it is unknown whether these deficits are secondary to differences in time decay (i.e., the loss of information in the STM store due to an increase in time) or susceptibility to rehearsal interference (i.e., any distractor stimuli that prevents or hinders the maintenance of relevant information in the limited capacity STM store). In this study, ADHD and Typically Developing (TD) boys were instructed to recall word lists consisting of 2, 4, and 6 words (24 consecutive trials of each word list administered in counterbalanced order) following three distinct delay intervals (3-s 12-s, and 21-s) with and without a superimposed articulatory suppression condition (repeating the irrelevant syllable ‘la' throughout each of the 3 delay conditions) which served as interference to the rehearsal mechanism. Results revealed that both groups performed better under the simple recall relative to the articulatory suppression condition, and recalled fewer words across the three time delay intervals. A significant three-way interaction emerged among diagnosis (ADHD vs TD), delay interval (3-s, 12-s, 21-s), and task condition (simple recall vs articulatory suppression), and indicated that children with ADHD are more susceptible to articulatory suppression effects over time relative to TD children. Collectively, the obtained findings corroborate previous reports that children with ADHD have poorer phonological STM and indicate that these deficits may occur due to a greater susceptibility to rehearsal interference during phonological short term memory rehearsal.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Rapport, Mark


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program

Clinical Psychology



Access Status

Campus Access

Length of Campus-only Access

3 years

Release Date