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Published in: European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 1/2024

Open Access 21-01-2023 | Original Contribution

Executive function in children with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder compared to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and oppositional defiant disorder, and in children with different irritability levels

Authors: Astrid Brænden, Marit Coldevin, Pål Zeiner, Jan Stubberud, Annika Melinder

Published in: European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry | Issue 1/2024

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Abstract

Addressing current challenges in research on disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD), this study aims to compare executive function in children with DMDD, children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and children with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). We also explore associations between irritability, a key DMDD characteristic, and executive function in a clinical sample regardless of diagnosis. Our sample include children (6–12 years) referred to child psychiatric clinics. Measures of daily-life (parent-reported questionnaire) and performance-based (neuropsychological tasks) executive function were applied. Identifying diagnoses, clinicians administered a standardized semi-structured diagnostic interview with parents. Irritability was assessed by parent-report. First, we compared executive function in DMDD (without ADHD/ODD), ADHD (without DMDD/ODD), ODD (without DMDD/ADHD) and DMDD + ADHD (without ODD). Second, we analyzed associations between executive function and irritability using the total sample. In daily life, children with DMDD showed clinically elevated and significantly worse emotion control scores compared to children with ADHD, and clinically elevated scores on cognitive flexibility compared to norm scores. Children with DMDD had significantly less working memory problems than those with ADHD. No differences were found between DMDD and ODD. Increased irritability was positively associated with emotional dyscontrol and cognitive inflexibility. For performance-based executive function, no diagnostic differences or associations with irritability were observed. We discuss how, in daily life, children with high irritability-levels get overwhelmed by feelings without accompanying regulatory capacities.
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Metadata
Title
Executive function in children with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder compared to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and oppositional defiant disorder, and in children with different irritability levels
Authors
Astrid Brænden
Marit Coldevin
Pål Zeiner
Jan Stubberud
Annika Melinder
Publication date
21-01-2023
Publisher
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Published in
European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry / Issue 1/2024
Print ISSN: 1018-8827
Electronic ISSN: 1435-165X
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-023-02143-6

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