Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Joshua M. Langberg

Second Advisor

Heather Jones

Third Advisor

Terri Sullivan

Fourth Advisor

Kevin Sutherland

Fifth Advisor

Scott Vrana


Sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT) is a construct that includes symptoms of slowness, mental confusion, excessive daydreaming, low motivation, and drowsiness/sleepiness. SCT is often co-morbid with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and SCT symptoms are associated with significant academic and interpersonal impairment above and beyond the influence of ADHD symptoms. Despite the overlap between ADHD and SCT and associated impairments, no studies have evaluated how evidence-based psychosocial interventions for adolescents with ADHD impact symptoms of SCT. This study examined whether SCT symptoms improved in a sample of 274 young adolescents with ADHD who received either an organizational skills or a homework completion intervention. SCT intervention response was evaluated broadly in all participants, and specifically, for participants in the clinical range for SCT symptom severity at baseline. Change in ADHD symptoms of inattention, executive functioning, and motivation was examined as potential predictors of improvement in SCT. Multilevel modeling analyses indicated that SCT symptoms decreased at the same rate for adolescents in both the organizational skills and homework completion interventions when compared to the waitlist group (d = .410). For adolescents with parent-reported clinical levels of SCT, the decrease in symptoms was more pronounced (d = .517), with the interventions decreasing the total score of SCT by 2.91 (one symptom). Additionally, in the high SCT group, behavior regulation executive functioning, metacognitive executive functioning, and inattention predicted change. Clinical implications and future directions are discussed, including development of interventions for adolescents with high levels of SCT.


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