Clinical features and subjective/physiological responses to emotional stimuli in the presence of emotion dysregulation in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

Taskiran C., KARAİSMAİLOĞLU S., Esen H. T. C., TÜZÜN Z., ERDEM A., BALKANCI Z. D., ...More

JOURNAL OF CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL NEUROPSYCHOLOGY, vol.40, no.4, pp.389-404, 2018 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


Introduction: Emotion dysregulation (ED) has long been recognized in clinical descriptions of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but a renewed interest in ED has advanced research on the overlap between the two entities. Autonomic reactivity (AR) is a neurobiological correlate of emotion regulation; however, the association between ADHD and AR remains unclear. Our aim was to explore the clinical differences, AR, and subjective emotional responses to visual emotional stimuli in ADHD children with and without ED.Method: School-aged ADHD children with (n=28) and without (n=20) ED, according to the definition of deficiency in emotional self-regulation (DESR), and healthy controls (n=22) were interviewed by using the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School Aged Children-Present and Lifetime version (K-SADS-PL) to screen frequent psychopathologies for these ages. All subjects were evaluated with Child Behavior Checklist 6-18 (CBCL), the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), the McMaster Family Assessment Device (FAD), the School-Age Temperament Inventory (SATI), and Conners' Parent Rating Scale (CPRS-48), which were completed by parents. To evaluate emotional responses, the International Affective Picture System (IAPS) and the subjective and physiological responses (electrodermal activity and heart rate reactivity) to selected pictures were examined.Results: Regarding clinically distinctive features, the ADHD+ED group differed from the ADHD-ED and the control groups in terms of having higher temperamental negative reactivity, more oppositional/conduct problems, and lower prosocial behaviors. In the AR measures, children in the ADHD+ED group rated unpleasant stimuli as more negative, but they still had lower heart rate reactivity (HRR) than the ADHD-ED and control groups; moreover, unlike the two other groups, the ADHD+ED group showed no differences in HRR between different emotional stimuli.Conclusion: The presented findings are unique in terms of their ability to clinically and physiologically differentiate between ADHD children with and without ED.