Task-Based Functional Connectivity in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Systematic Review

Olivia S. Kowalczyk*, Mitul A. Mehta, Owen G. O'Daly, Marion Criaud

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Altered neurocognitive functioning is a key feature of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and increasing numbers of studies assess task-based functional connectivity in the disorder. We systematically reviewed and critically appraised functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) task-based functional connectivity studies in ADHD. A systematic search conducted up to September 2020 found 34 studies, including 51 comparisons. Comparisons were divided into investigations of ADHD neuropathology (37 comparing ADHD and typical development, 2 comparing individuals with ADHD and their nonsymptomatic siblings, 2 comparing remitted and persistent ADHD, and 1 exploring ADHD symptom severity) and the effects of interventions (8 investigations of stimulant effects and 1 study of fMRI neurofeedback). Large heterogeneity in study methodologies prevented a meta-analysis; thus, the data were summarized as a narrative synthesis. Across cognitive domains, functional connectivity in the cingulo-opercular, sensorimotor, visual, subcortical, and executive control networks in ADHD consistently differed from neurotypical populations. Furthermore, literature comparing individuals with ADHD and their nonsymptomatic siblings as well as adults with ADHD and their remitted peers showed ADHD-related abnormalities in similar sensorimotor and subcortical (primarily striatal) networks. Interventions modulated those dysfunctional networks, with the most consistent action on functional connections with the striatum, anterior cingulate cortex, occipital regions, and midline default mode network structures. Although methodological issues limited many of the reviewed studies, the use of task-based functional connectivity approaches has the potential to broaden the understanding of the neural underpinnings of ADHD and the mechanisms of action of ADHD treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-367
Number of pages18
JournalBiological Psychiatry Global Open Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • ADHD
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Connectivity
  • fMRI
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Task-based functional connectivity


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