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Reward and punishment sensitivity are associated with cross-disorder traits


Abstract

Reversal learning deficits following reward and punishment processing are observed across disruptive behaviors (DB) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and have been associated with callous-unemotional (CU) traits. However, it remains unknown to what extent these altered reinforcement sensitivities are linked to the co-occurrence of oppositional traits, ADHD symptoms, and CU traits. Reward and punishment sensitivity and perseverative behavior were therefore derived from a probabilistic reversal learning task to investigate reinforcement sensitivity in participants with DB (n=183, ODD=62, CD=10, combined=57, age-range 8-18), ADHD (n=144, age-range 11-28), and controls (n=191, age-range 8-26). The SNAP-IV and Conners rating scales were used to assess oppositional and ADHD traits. The Inventory of CU traits was used to assess CU traits. Decreased reward sensitivity was associated with ADHD symptom severity (p=0.018) if corrected for oppositional symptoms. ADHD symptomatology interacted with oppositional behavior on perseveration (p=0.019), with the former aggravating the effect of oppositional behavior on perseveration and vice versa. Within a pooled sample, reversal learning alterations were associated with the severity of ADHD symptoms, underpinned by hyposensitivity to reward and increased perseveration. These results show ADHD traits, as opposed to oppositional behavior and CU traits, is associated with decreased reward-based learning in adolescents and adults.

Abstract

Reversal learning deficits following reward and punishment processing are observed across disruptive behaviors (DB) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and have been associated with callous-unemotional (CU) traits. However, it remains unknown to what extent these altered reinforcement sensitivities are linked to the co-occurrence of oppositional traits, ADHD symptoms, and CU traits. Reward and punishment sensitivity and perseverative behavior were therefore derived from a probabilistic reversal learning task to investigate reinforcement sensitivity in participants with DB (n=183, ODD=62, CD=10, combined=57, age-range 8-18), ADHD (n=144, age-range 11-28), and controls (n=191, age-range 8-26). The SNAP-IV and Conners rating scales were used to assess oppositional and ADHD traits. The Inventory of CU traits was used to assess CU traits. Decreased reward sensitivity was associated with ADHD symptom severity (p=0.018) if corrected for oppositional symptoms. ADHD symptomatology interacted with oppositional behavior on perseveration (p=0.019), with the former aggravating the effect of oppositional behavior on perseveration and vice versa. Within a pooled sample, reversal learning alterations were associated with the severity of ADHD symptoms, underpinned by hyposensitivity to reward and increased perseveration. These results show ADHD traits, as opposed to oppositional behavior and CU traits, is associated with decreased reward-based learning in adolescents and adults.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
04 Faculty of Medicine > Neuroscience Center Zurich
04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:8 February 2021
Deposited On:19 Feb 2021 16:28
Last Modified:19 Feb 2021 16:28
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0165-1781
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2021.113795
PubMed ID:33582524

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