Executive Dysfunction and Functional Impairment Associated With Sluggish Cognitive Tempo in Emerging Adulthood

Whitney L.M. Wood, Lawrence J. Lewandowski, Benjamin J. Lovett, Kevin M. Antshel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Objective: Research has identified a relationship between sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT) symptoms and symptoms of ADHD, anxiety, and depression; however, no study has controlled for symptoms of ADHD, anxiety, and depression when examining impairment related to SCT symptoms. This study aimed to examine (a) the extent to which functional impairment and executive function (EF) problems were accounted for by SCT symptoms when controlling for ADHD, anxiety, and depression symptoms, and (b) which type of symptoms were associated with the greatest amount of impairment. Method: College students (N = 458) completed self-report scales of ADHD, SCT, anxiety, and depression symptoms, as well as functional impairment and EF problems. Results: Thirteen percent of the sample was found to have high levels of SCT symptoms. SCT symptoms showed a moderate to strong correlation with the other symptom sets; however, high levels of SCT symptoms often occurred separate from high levels of ADHD, anxiety, or depression symptoms. SCT symptoms accounted for the most unique variance for both EF problems and functional impairment. Students with high levels of SCT symptoms, with or without high levels of ADHD symptoms, exhibited more impairment and EF problems than the controls. Conclusion: SCT is a clinical construct worthy of additional study, particularly among college students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)691-700
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Attention Disorders
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jun 2017


  • ADHD
  • executive function deficits
  • functional impairment
  • sluggish cognitive tempo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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