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Poster A17

Age Modulates the Effect of Attentional States on Affect in Adults with ADHD

Poster Session A - Saturday, April 13, 2024, 2:30 – 4:30 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Yudhajit Ain1 (, Simrit Rai1, Avery Krupa1, Jonas Buerkner1, Brandy L. Callahan1,2, Julia W. Y. Kam1,2; 1University of Calgary, 2Hotchkiss Brain Institute

Unintentionally engaging in mind-wandering (MW), characterized by having thoughts unrelated to the ongoing task, consistently predicts more negative affective outcomes. Given both age and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) negatively impact attentional capacity, an older ADHD population may be particularly more susceptible to MW-related disruptions. In the present study, we asked whether the relationship between MW and affect differs across age in ADHD subsamples with clinical levels of Inattention (N = 49; age range = 20 – 69 years, M_age = 41.37) and Hyperactivity (N = 35; age range = 21 – 79 years, M_age = 40.63). Using naturalistic thought-sampling, we had participants report their instantaneous attention state (on-task/unintentional MW/intentional MW), and affective valence, 6 times daily for one week. In the Inattentive group, unintentional MW predicted significantly lower affect. In the Hyperactive group, we found (1) significantly lower affect during unintentional MW, compared to intentional MW, across all ages, as well as (2) a crossover interaction between age and attentional states, such that affect during unintentional MW was significantly lower than affect on-task (and during intentional MW) until around 40 years of age, but affect on-task was significantly lower than affect during both types of MW by around 60 years of age. Finally, older age also predicted less frequent unintentional MW compared to on-task states, and less frequent intentional MW compared to unintentional MW, in the Hyperactive group. Our findings suggest that age modulates the effects of attention states on affective valence in adults with clinical levels of Hyperactivity in ADHD.

Topic Area: ATTENTION: Development & aging


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April 13–16  |  2024