Honors Theses

Date of Award

Winter 12-10-2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Communication Sciences and Disorders

First Advisor

Toshikazu Ikuta

Second Advisor

Tamara Warhol

Third Advisor

Heather Allen

Relational Format



Background: Most studies have found pragmatic language skills to be poorer in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) populations, but there is no conclusive evidence.

Aim: Our aim was to conduct a meta-analysis of pragmatic language abilities in ADHD populations to more definitively demonstrate the extent of pragmatic language deficits in these populations as compared to typically developing (TD) populations.

Methods and procedures: Journal articles were identified using the search terms ((attention deficit) OR (adhd)) AND (pragmatics). Identified studies were screened and reviewed for inclusion criteria, descriptive information, and outcome variables. A meta-analysis was conducted, and individual effect sizes and overall effect size were calculated.

Outcomes and results: 14 studies (5772 participants) met inclusion criteria for quantitative synthesis. Meta-analysis results demonstrated that ADHD populations showed significantly poorer pragmatic language skills than TD populations, with a very large overall effect size of -1.55.

Conclusions and implications: Pragmatic language is clearly significantly affected in people with ADHD, as shown by the overall effect size from our results. Considering the recognized importance of pragmatic language in socio-emotional development, daily life, and academic success, such skills should be regularly addressed within ADHD management.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Available for download on Tuesday, March 19, 2024