2017 Young Scientist Research Awards

Zuali Malsawma

 Attention Magazine Winter 2017-18

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DURING THE ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ADHD in Atlanta, Georgia, CHADD presented the 2017 Young Scientist Research Awards to Matthew J. Gormley, PhD, and Jaclyn Kamradt, MA.

These emerging researchers were selected from a pool of outstanding applicants for their academic achievements, research studies record, professor recommendations, and planned future contributions to the field. Their submitted research studies were evaluated on significance, methodology, clarity, adequacy of literature review and data analysis, and contribution of new knowledge to our understanding of ADHD.

CHADD’s professional advisory board reviewed the applications, and co-chair Max Wiznitzer, MD, presented the awards at the conference. The awards are supported by a number of individual donations.

Consistency in Transition: Supporting Students with ADHD Through Their Academic Careers

Matthew J. Gormley, PhD

Beyond inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity, one of the most common experiences of individuals with ADHD is academic difficulties. Research has found students with ADHD earn lower grades, are retained more often, and are more likely to drop out of school. They are also less likely to attend college, and those who do often continue to struggle. These realities exist even though there are multiple evidence-based interventions for ADHD across the lifespan. Medications are helpful in reducing core symptoms, but less so for associated problems like academic achievement. Behavioral interventions can address these areas; however, regardless of the treatment(s) used, symptoms and impairment often return when intervention stops. This suggests that intervention should be continuous over time, something difficult to achieve, especially with school-based behavioral interventions.

Gormley’s research looks at ways to deliver interventions effectively over time, specifically over grade-level transitions (second to third grade, for example). Currently, he is revising a consultation procedure that promotes school-family partnerships, meets the individual needs of the student, and considers the realities of home and school environments, recognizing that these factors will change as the student develops. Ultimately, he hopes to refine this system to flexibly delivery supports across a student’s academic career.

Matthew J. Gormley, PhD, is an assistant professor of school psychology in the department of educational psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He earned his PhD in school psychology from Lehigh University in 2016. His research aims to support individuals with ADHD from school entry until graduation.

Sluggish Cognitive Tempo as a Transdiagnostic Link Between Adult ADHD and Internalizing Symptoms |

Jaclyn Kamradt, MA

Adults with ADHD and co-occurring internalizing disorders (such as anxiety or depression) require more complex clinical management, resulting in substantially increased healthcare costs and a critical challenge to diagnosis and treatment. Unfortunately, factors that link ADHD to anxiety and depression are not well-understood. Further, up to half of individuals with ADHD present with symptoms of sluggish cognitive tempo, which involve daydreaming, feeling spacey, moving slowly, and processing information slowly. These symptoms are also strongly associated with internalizing problems. While SCT symptoms have been posited to signal a potentially separate disorder from ADHD, it has also been suggested that SCT may be a transdiagnostic factor, meaning that it may serve as a behavioral and mechanistic link between ADHD and internalizing problems, although this possibility has yet to be robustly evaluated.

Thus, identifying factors that contribute to this overlap between ADHD and internalizing symptoms would allow for refinement of conceptualization, assessment, and treatment of adult ADHD, as well as reduction in the overall healthcare cost. To date, Kamradt’s work in this area suggests that SCT may play a contributory role in adults with ADHD and comorbid anxiety and depression symptoms, explaining some of the different patterns of symptoms and deficits seen in ADHD. Currently, she’s extending this work by testing if SCT accounts for the behavioral overlap between ADHD and internalizing symptoms, and if SCT accounts for the shared neurocognitive deficits of ADHD and internalizing symptoms. She hopes that the results of this research will open multiple avenues of future studies, and importantly, translate into innovative prevention and treatment target strategies for individuals with ADHD.

Jaclyn Kamradt, MA, is a doctoral candidate in the clinical psychology program at the University of Iowa’s department of psychological and brain sciences. Her research aims to expand on the current knowledge regarding ADHD and co-occurring conditions, by evaluating potential links that contribute to such overlap.

Zuali Malsawma, MLS, is the health sciences librarian for CHADD’s National Resource Center on ADHD.