Sustained attention plays a critical role in reading comprehension of adults with and without ADHD

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Purpose: The study aims to examine whether individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have reading comprehension difficulties, and if they do, which cognitive abilities underlie these difficulties. It focuses on the role of sustained attention in reading comprehension. Method: Fifty adults with ADHD and 57 participants without ADHD performed tasks of short-term memory, vocabulary, and sustained attention, as well as a task of reading comprehension. Results: The two groups did not differ in short-term memory or vocabulary, but participants with ADHD received lower scores on both the sustained attention and the reading comprehension tasks compared to participants without ADHD. In addition, a regression analysis in which group was entered first and then scores on the cognitive tests showed that only sustained attention predicted reading comprehension. Conclusions: The findings suggest that sustained attention is critical for reading comprehension and thus it should be incorporated into theoretical models of reading comprehension.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102300
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
StatePublished - Jul 2023

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© 2023 Elsevier Inc.


  • ADHD
  • Reading comprehension
  • Short-term memory
  • Sustained attention
  • Vocabulary


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