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Lilach Shalev, Carmel Mevorach, Yehoshua Tsal; The various attention deficits in adult-ADHD and their relation to driving behavior. Journal of Vision 2008;8(6):778. doi: 10.1167/8.6.778.
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Despite the lack of adult-specific criteria in the DSM-IV-TR, reports in the literature over the past 20 years have provided strong evidence for the persistence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) into adolescence. It is estimated that about 4% of adults suffer from ADHD. ADHD has many deleterious long-term consequences including increased risk for automobile accidents. The goal of this study is to examine the performance of adults with and without ADHD on a variety of attentional tasks (tapping into different attentional functions) and to explore possible relations between attention performance and driving behavior. The performance of adults with ADHD on four different visual attentional task (Continuous Performance Test, visual search, Posner' tasks with exogenous cues and strooplike) was compared to aged matched controls. In addition, ‘driving behaviors’ were assessed for all participants using a self-reported questionnaire (DBQ). Group comparisons between participants with and without ADHD in the above four attention tasks revealed significant differences in each one of the tasks. Furthermore, using z-scores (based on the statistics of the control group), we found different levels of performance in individuals with ADHD in each of the four attention tasks. That is, different participants with ADHD revealed different patterns of attentional difficulties. Interestingly, we found significant correlations between the performance in the attention tasks and certain driving slips (such as “intend to switch on the windscreen wipers but in turn switch on the lights”) and violations (“take a chance and cross on lights that have turned red”). These correlations may suggest a substantial link between specific aspects of attention (and attention difficulties) and driving behaviors. We discuss potential theoretical and practical implications of these results.
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