What Causes ADHD?: Understanding What Goes Wrong and Why


Synthesizing a wealth of recent neuropsychological research, this groundbreaking book focuses on the multiple pathways by which attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) develops. Joel T. Nigg marshals the best available knowledge on what is actually going on in the symptomatic child's brain and why, tracing the intersecting causal influences of genetic, neural, and environmental factors. In the process, the book confronts such enduring controversies as the validity of ADHD as a clinical construct. Specific...

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What Causes ADHD?: Understanding What Goes Wrong and Why

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Synthesizing a wealth of recent neuropsychological research, this groundbreaking book focuses on the multiple pathways by which attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) develops. Joel T. Nigg marshals the best available knowledge on what is actually going on in the symptomatic child's brain and why, tracing the intersecting causal influences of genetic, neural, and environmental factors. In the process, the book confronts such enduring controversies as the validity of ADHD as a clinical construct. Specific suggestions are provided for studies that might further refine the conceptualization of the disorder, with significant potential benefits for treatment and prevention.

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Editorial Reviews

Schooldays Magazine

"This is a very well researched text which provides much information based on recent research. It is a good reference text for students and practitioners working in the fields of psychology and special education."--Schooldays Magazine
From the Publisher

"Nigg's book is a tour de force. Conceptually rich and clinically relevant, it does not shrink from current controversies regarding ADHD, but instead synthesizes massive amounts of relevant, up-to-the-minute research into a masterful whole. This book is essential reading for scientists, clinicians, and students; it is one of those few volumes that can and should cross over between the classroom and the laboratory. Nigg is a wizard at finding and making comprehensible the complex sets of issues that render ADHD a timely and provocative springboard for discussion of scientific models, causal factors, and implications for treatment. There is nothing quite like it in the field."--Stephen P. Hinshaw, PhD, University of California, Berkeley

"This is an excellent review of the neuropsychology of ADHD. It will be a 'must-read' text for students and researchers."--Joseph Sergeant, PhD, Free University of Amsterdam

"Few books directly address the causes of ADHD in anything more than cursory detail, and fewer still are well grounded in contemporary scientific findings. Nigg's much-needed book fills this void beautifully. The book offers as complete a picture of the likely causes of ADHD as current science permits, while rendering this very technical and complex literature into an easily understandable, no-nonsense form. Scientists working on ADHD will find this book very useful and informative. Clinicians will find a state-of-the-art summation of the causes of ADHD and a framework for explaining related issues and controversies to patients and families. Everyone can learn something about ADHD from this thoughtfully crafted and thoroughly documented book."--Russell A. Barkley, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Medical University of South Carolina
"A tremendous resource. This clearly written, comprehensive volume breaks down the neuropsychology of ADHD for specialists and nonspecialists alike. It cuts to the heart of controversies surrounding etiology, assessment, and treatment, and undoubtedly will serve as an important teaching and research tool for years to come. Nigg expands our perspective by addressing not only the neurobiology of attention and executive control, but also the interrelationships among emotion, motivation, motor skills, and ADHD symptoms. He takes the important step of considering cognitive and behavioral deficits in ADHD in their developmental context, shedding light on the disorder's age-, gender-, and subtype-related complexities."--E. Mark Mahone, PhD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

"Over the last five years or so, our understanding of ADHD has started to undergo a major revision in the light of scientific evidence. Classical notions of ADHD as the outcome of a single, core, fixed dysfunction shared by all children with the diagnosis are giving way to a new paradigm that highlights causal heterogeneity and recognizes diverse symptom clusters. The implications of this change in thinking are potentially profound for both science and practice. Nigg's seminal text provides a scholarly and comprehensive overview of this new paradigm, offering a fresh perspective on the science of ADHD that is essential reading for students, scholars and clinicians."--Edmund J. Sonuga-Barke, PhD, University of Southampton, UK

"Nigg's comprehensive text on ADHD pulls together the disparate and challenging literatures of public health, neuropsychology, and genetics. He effectively interweaves clinical scenarios, neuroscience, and information needed to respond to the pressing questions and concerns facing families, students, and clinicians. Students and practitioners in psychology, neuropsychology, psychiatry, and pediatrics--anyone who works closely with children or adults with ADHD--will want to have this book on their shelves."--Marsha D. Rappley, MD, Michigan State University

Applied Neuropsychology

"With the publication of What Causes ADHD? the scientific field of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has reached a near pinnacle. With over a thousand references, this is the most comprehensive collection of studies dealing with the cause of ADHD to appear in print thus far....Joel T. Nigg's research and the publication of nearly 100 scientific papers has richly contributed to our knowledge of ADHD and has been a shining beacon of science frequently held up in the face of pseudoscience and the outright nonsense that prevails when discussions of cause and course of ADHD appear in the general media....What Causes ADHD? is one of the most important scientific volumes on this condition in the past two years. It is a must for the bookshelf of any serious scientist-practitioner who works with this disorder."--Applied Neuropsychology
Child and Family Behavior Therapy

"A stellar update of the field....He provides a laudable integration of the currently known facts and presents them in an information-filled volume that is essential reading for anyone interested in the neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and neurochemistry of this disorder....Given the scholarly nature of this book and the quality of its preparation, its cost is extremely reasonable....Nigg is to be congratulated for a job very well done."--Child and Family Behavior Therapy
The Clinical Neuropsychologist

"Dr. Nigg's excellent efforts in this current text push beyond the simple nature versus nurture question....Clinically, this text offers a wealth of information that will assist providers in broadening their perspective regarding the origins of ADHD beyond simple nature/nurture arguments. The text is unique in that each chapter provides not only a summation and conclusion, but also identifies important factors that will impact the evaluation and treatment of individuals with ADHD....Information can easily be incorporated in discussion with parents and families. It also provides a strong basis allowing for discussion of neutral pathways and terminology that is well grounded and easily understandable....I highly recommend What Causes ADHD? as it provides the most current and comprehensive review and discussion of the topic to date. This text can easily be appreciated by researchers and clinicians alike and also can be incorporated into graduate level courses. It most certainly extends and expands our understanding of ADHD providing a solid 'jumping-off point' for future research and refined clinical practice."--The Clinical Neuropsychologist

"Candid but informative....A refreshingly honest, brave, and comprehensive view about this popular disorder. Nigg thoroughly discusses the controversies of the ADHD etiology, diagnosis, assessment, and treatment, as well as the medicalization of behavior in a consumeristic society looking for a fast fix....Original and abundant, with useful clinical information to the practitioner, educator, and the researcher. It fastens together smoothly and eloquently an enormous confluence of literature. This volume provides a considerable review of the neuropsychology of ADHD....Will provide the reader with an edifying reading marked by clarity, eloquence, and intelligibility. It elucidates every aspect of ADHD and makes a great reference book for students and practitioners in psychology, neuropsychology, psychiatry, and pediatrics, as well as anyone who works closely with children or adults with ADHD."--PsycCRITIQUES
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781606233528
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/8/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 422
  • Sales rank: 1,187,244
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Joel T. Nigg, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and an active research scientist. He is Professor of Psychiatry, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Pediatrics at Oregon Health and Science University. His research on the etiology of and mechanisms involved in ADHD has been funded by the National Institutes of Health continuously since 1997. Dr. Nigg is best known for his work characterizing the neuropsychological features of ADHD; he is also a leading investigator of temperamental and personality characteristics related to ADHD. He has published over 90 peer reviewed scientific articles on ADHD and related topics, and has presented his work at numerous national and international scientific meetings in the field of children's mental health. Dr. Nigg also serves as a reviewer for grants for the National Institute of Mental Health, and is on the editorial boards of several major scientific journals.
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Table of Contents

I. Conceptual Context

1. ADHD’s Controversies

2. Defining “Disorder”

II. How Does ADHD Work?

3. Neural Systems

4. Attention and Arousal

5. Executive Functioning or Cognitive Control

6. Motivation

7. Motor Control and Timing

III. Where Does ADHD Come From?

8. Multiple Pathways

9. Genetic Effects

10. Uncommon Experiential Risk Factors

11. Common Experiential Risk Factors

IV. Integration

12. Multiple Pathways Reconsidered

13. Conclusion

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