Sustained attention and behavioral characteristics associated with ADHD in adults

Alon Avisar, Lilach Shalev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The goal of the current study was to investigate whether two cognitive functions (i.e., sustained attention and response inhibition) were related to a general model of personality traits and behavioral characteristics associated with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). To examine these relations, the Conjunctive Continuous Performance Test was used to measure the two cognitive functions, the Mini-Marker was used to measure the Big Five domains of personality, and the Wender Utah Rating Scale (WURS) was used to index ADHD symptoms. Correlations and multiple regression analyses showed that difficulties in sustained attention were associated with the WURS behavioral symptoms of inattention, oppositional/defiant behavior, impulsivity, and Big Five low conscientiousness, but were not associated with emotional problems such as neuroticism or low agreeableness (Big Five). Difficulties in response inhibition were marginally correlated with behavioral symptoms of inattention and low conscientiousness. Surprisingly, response inhibition was also highly correlated with sustained attention. In addition, neuroticism independently was highly associated with the WURS emotional and oppositional/defiant behavior symptoms. The findings suggest that deficient sustained attention relates specifically to the main ADHD behaviors but not to the emotional problems typically associated with the disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-116
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Neuropsychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by The Israel Science Foundation (Grant No. 837/04 to the second author).


  • ADHD
  • Big Five
  • CPT
  • personality
  • response inhibition
  • sustained attention


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