Developmental trajectory of subtle motor signs in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A longitudinal study from childhood to adolescence

Jewel E. Crasta, Yi Zhao, Karen E. Seymour, Stacy J. Suskauer, Stewart H. Mostofsky, Keri S. Rosch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined the developmental trajectory of neurodevelopmental motor signs among boys and girls with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and typically-developing (TD) children. Seventy children with ADHD and 48 TD children, aged 8–17 years, were evaluated on at least two time-points using the Physical and Neurological Assessment of Subtle Signs (PANESS). Age-related changes in subtle motor signs (overflow, dysrhythmia, speed) were modeled using linear mixed-effects models to compare the developmental trajectories among four subgroups (ADHD girls and boys and TD girls and boys). Across visits, both boys and girls with ADHD showed greater overflow, dysrhythmia, and slower speed on repetitive motor tasks compared to TD peers; whereas, only girls with ADHD were slower on sequential motor tasks than TD girls. Developmental trajectory analyses revealed a greater reduction in overflow with age among boys with ADHD than TD boys; whereas, trajectories did not differ among girls with and without ADHD, or among boys and girls with ADHD. For dysrhythmia and speed, there were no trajectory differences between the subgroups, with all groups showing similar reductions with age. Children with ADHD show developmental trajectories of subtle motor signs that are consistent with those of TD children, with one clear exception: Boys with ADHD show more significant reductions in overflow from childhood to adolescence than do their TD peers. Our findings affirm the presence of subtle motor signs in children with ADHD and suggest that some of these signs, particularly motor overflow in boys, resolve through adolescence while dysrhythmia and slow speed, may persist.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-332
Number of pages16
JournalChild Neuropsychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


  • ADHD
  • development
  • motor
  • overflow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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