Welcome to the ADHD and Development Laboratory in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Iowa! Find our main office in 202 Stuit Hall.

Mission and Research Focus

ADHD remains one of the most frequently diagnosed psychological disorders among youth and adults, is commonly comorbid with both internalizing and externalizing psychopathology, and is associated with numerous academic, social, and occupational impairments. Despite its common occurrence and its wide-ranging effects, we are only just beginning to discover the many complex etiological pathways that contribute to its onset and its persistence across the lifespan. Our lab is specifically interested in exploring the interplay of biological and contextual processes that underlie the development and persistence of ADHD from childhood through adolescence and young adulthood.  Our lab integrates information from multiple levels of analysis to specify factors that predict heterogeneity in its clinical presentation, patterns of comorbidity, and persistence across development and into adulthood.  Our lab casts a wide net and has focused on numerous risk and protective factors and their integrative effects, including genetics, prenatal risk factors, pubertal development, autonomic reactivity, neuropsychological functioning, temperament/personality, family and peer relationships, and socioeconomic status. The goal of our research is to help specify etiological pathways of ADHD to inform the development of novel assessment, intervention, and prevention strategies.

Methods and Measurement

Most of our studies are correlational in nature and involve targeted recruitment of samples enriched for ADHD, psychopathology risk factors, or both.  Our participants generally complete comprehensive assessments that include collecting data at multiple levels of analysis. We make use of molecular genetic methods (i.e., genome-wide association derived polygenic scores, Sanger sequencing of rare variants), psychophysiological methods (i.e., electrocardiogram data), neuropsychological measures (i.e., tests of IQ, academic achievement, inhibition, working memory, processing speed, and arousal), and informant ratings of temperament/personality, parenting, parenting stress, peer relationships, and more.  Some of our studies also employ ecological momentary assessment to explore within-person variability in symptoms and risk factors using online surveys integrated with SMS messaging.

The Iowa ADHD and Development Lab was established in 2011 and, as of 2022, has been a training home to 7 doctoral students in clinical psychology and over 90 undergraduate research assistants and volunteers.  PhD alumni of the laboratory have taken positions as clinical scientists at academic medical centers and VA hospitals around the country.  Research assistant alumni have gone onto earn PhDs in clinical psychology, counseling psychology, neuroscience, school psychology, developmental psychology, and social work. Additionally, prior research assistants have also successfully gone onto medical school, pharmacy school, law school and master’s level programs in social work, public health, school counseling, and mental health counseling.

For questions or comments, please contact us by phone at (319) 335-3519 or by email at iowa-adhdlab@uiowa.edu.