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The Diagnostic Utility of Executive Function Assessments in the Identification of ADHD in Children

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Background: 

Deficits in executive functions have been widely reported to characterise individuals with ADHD. The aim of this study was to evaluate the utility of a range of executive function measures for identifying children with ADHD. Method: 

Eighty-three children with ADHD and 50 normally-developing children without ADHD were assessed on measures of inhibition, set-shifting, planning, problem-solving, response inhibition, sustained attention and working memory. Measures of sensitivity, specificity, likelihood ratios and diagnostic odds ratios were calculated. Results: 

Executive function tasks effectively discriminated between children with and without ADHD. Measures of response inhibition and working memory contributed the most to the discriminant function. Conclusions: 

Cognitive measures of executive function can be used to help identify children with ADHD and could be useful as additional diagnostic tools for clinical practitioners.
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Keywords: ADHD; diagnosis; executive function; working memory

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, University of Northumbria, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1, 8ST, UK., Email: [email protected] 2: Department of Psychology, University of York, UK 3: Hartlepool Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, UK 4: School of Education, Durham University, UK

Publication date: 01 February 2010

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