Sluggish Cognitive Tempo and Academic Achievement in Undergraduate Students



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Although sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT) is now considered an independent attention disorder, most research about this construct has been conducted with children populations and utilized mixed methods for measurement; in addition, the impact of SCT on relevant outcomes, like academic achievement, is relatively unexplored. This study aimed to confirm known statistical attributes of SCT as a construct, including its independent validity and its correlation with known covariates, and to explore the impact of SCT on grade point average while accounting for overlapping clinical variables and well-established predictors of achievement. An online survey measuring demographic variables, SCT symptoms, ADHD inattention and hyperactivity symptoms, positive and negative affect, math anxiety symptoms, and self-efficacy was completed by undergraduate college students between the ages of 18 and 25, and 275 observations were used for correlation and regression analyses. As expected in two of four hypotheses, the statistical independence of SCT as a construct was confirmed, as were its significant moderate correlations with most covariates of interest. However, the other two hypotheses for this study were not supported, as SCT was not found to have a significant zero-order nor partial correlation with academic achievement as measured in the present study. Although it is suggested that grades do not correlate with SCT in young adults, inaccurate measurement of grade point average might be part of the reason for these results; future research addressing SCT in undergraduate students should utilize objective measures of achievement and determine whether their correlation with SCT has significance.