Disentangling ADHD's Presentation-Related Decision-Making-A Meta-Analytic Approach on Predominant Presentations

Marcel Schulze (Lead / Corresponding author), David Coghill, Silke Lux, Alexandra Philipsen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
53 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Deficient decision-making (DM) in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is marked by altered reward sensitivity, higher risk taking, and aberrant reinforcement learning. Previous meta-analysis aggregate findings for the ADHD combined presentation (ADHD-C) mostly, while the ADHD predominantly inattentive presentation (ADHD-I) and the predominantly hyperactive/impulsive presentation (ADHD-H) were not disentangled. The objectives of the current meta-analysis were to aggregate findings from DM for each presentation separately. Methods: A comprehensive literature search of the PubMed (Medline) and Web of Science Database took place using the keywords "ADHD," "attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder," "decision-making," "risk-taking," "reinforcement learning," and "risky." Random-effects models based on correlational effect-sizes were conducted. Heterogeneity analysis and sensitivity/outlier analysis were performed, and publication biases were assessed with funnel-plots and the egger intercept. Results: Of 1,240 candidate articles, seven fulfilled criteria for analysis of ADHD-C (N = 193), seven for ADHD-I (N = 256), and eight for ADHD-H (N = 231). Moderate effect-size were found for ADHD-C (r = 0.34; p = 0.0001; 95% CI = [0.19, 0.49]). Small effect-sizes were found for ADHD-I (r = 0.09; p = 0.0001; 95% CI = [0.008, 0.25]) and for ADHD-H (r = 0.1; p = 0.0001; 95% CI = [-0.012, 0.32]). Heterogeneity was moderate for ADHD-H. Sensitivity analyses show robustness of the analysis, and no outliers were detected. No publication bias was evident. Conclusion: This is the first study that uses a meta-analytic approach to investigate the relationship between the different presentations of ADHD separately. These findings provide first evidence of lesser pronounced impairment in DM for ADHD-I and ADHD-I compared to ADHD-C. While the exact factors remain elusive, the current study can be considered as a starting point to reveal the relationship of ADHD presentations and DM more detailed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number519840
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2021


  • attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder
  • decision making
  • inattention and hyperactivity
  • meta-analysis
  • risk behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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