The association of visuospatial working memory with dysthymic disorder in pre-pubertal children

T. Franklin, A. Lee, N. Hall, S. Hetrick, J. Ong, N. Haslam, F. Karsz, A. Vance

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Background Visuospatial working memory (VSWM) deficits have not been investigated specifically in children with dysthymic disorder (DD), although they are associated with impairments in attention that commonly occur in DD. This study investigates VSWM impairment in children with DD.Method A cross-sectional study of VSWM in 6-to 12-year-old children with medication-naive DD (n=26) compared to an age-, gender-and performance IQ (PIQ)-matched healthy control group (n=28) was completed.Results The DD group demonstrated impairment in VSWM, including impairment in the spatial span and strategy components of VSWM. Furthermore, the VSWM impairment remained after controlling for spatial span. Inattentive symptoms were significantly associated with the VSWM impairment.Conclusions This study of children with DD found deficits in performance on VSWM tasks, suggesting that fronto-striatalparietal neural networks that underlie processes of attention and the executive component of VSWM are dysfunctional in children with DD. These findings further our understanding of DD and suggest more specific interventions that might improve functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-261
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2010


  • Attention
  • Children
  • Dysthymic disorder
  • Visuospatial working memory

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