A systematic review of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD and mathematical ability: current findings and future implicationsReport as inadecuate

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BMC Medicine

, 13:204

First Online: 27 August 2015Received: 09 September 2014Accepted: 30 June 2015DOI: 10.1186-s12916-015-0414-4

Cite this article as: Tosto, M.G., Momi, S.K., Asherson, P. et al. BMC Med 2015 13: 204. doi:10.1186-s12916-015-0414-4


BackgroundSeveral recent behavioural and behavioural genetic studies have investigated the relationship between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD and mathematical ability. The aim of this systematic review was to provide an overview of these studies to date. An emphasis was placed on reviewing results that explored the association between mathematics and the two ADHD components of attention and hyperactivity-impulsivity separately.

MethodsA systematic search of quantitative studies investigating the association between mathematics and ADHD was conducted across five databases PsychINFO, Web of Science, PubMed, EMBASE, and Scopus. A total of 30 cross-sectional and four longitudinal studies were included in this review.

ResultsNarrative synthesis of the results was provided using PRISMA guidelines. Taken together, the studies pointed at substantial evidence for a negative association between ADHD symptoms and mathematical ability. This association was particularly marked for the inattentive component of ADHD than for the hyperactive-impulsive component. Evidence from twin studies also showed a significant genetic correlation between mathematics and ADHD, which was greater for the inattentive component of ADHD compared to the hyperactive-impulsive component.

ConclusionsThe differential relationship of the hyperactivity-impulsivity and inattention domains with mathematics emphasises the heterogeneity within the disorder and suggests a partially different aetiology of the two ADHD domains. A better understanding of the aetiology of ADHD could help develop more efficient interventions aimed at the reduction of its symptoms. It could also offer an explanatory framework for shortcomings in achievement and inform the development of non-pharmacological intervention strategies.

KeywordsAttention deficit hyperactivity disorder Hyperkinetic disorder Mathematical ability Mathematics achievement AbbreviationsADHDAttention deficit hyperactivity disorder

DSM-IVDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition

PRISMAPreferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s12916-015-0414-4 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Maria Grazia Tosto - Sukhleen Kaur Momi - Philip Asherson - Karim Malki

Source: https://link.springer.com/

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