ADHD Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 9–20

Separate and overlapping relationships of inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity in children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder


  • Lauren C. Smith
    • Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
    • Behavioral Medicine and Clinical PsychologyCincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
  • Carroll W. Hughes
    • Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Ira H. Bernstein
    • Clinical SciencesUniversity of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12402-012-0091-5

Cite this article as:
Smith, L.C., Tamm, L., Hughes, C.W. et al. ADHD Atten Def Hyp Disord (2013) 5: 9. doi:10.1007/s12402-012-0091-5


There is debate regarding the dimensional versus categorical nature of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This study utilized confirmatory factor analysis to examine this issue. ADHD symptoms rated on interviews and rating scales from a large sample of individuals (ages 3–17, 74 % male, 75 % Caucasian) with ADHD were examined (n = 242). Four potential factor structures were tested to replicate prior findings in a sample with a wide age range and included only participants who met DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for ADHD. Correlations with executive function measures were performed to further assess the separability and validity of the derived factors. The data support a bifactor model with a general ADHD factor and two specific factors, inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity. Importantly, the individual factors were also differentially correlated with executive functioning measures. This study adds to a growing literature suggesting both a general component to ADHD, as well as dimensional traits of inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity, associated with distinct executive functioning profiles. The presence of a general underlying factor contraindicates separating the inattentive and combined subtypes of ADHD into distinct disorders.


ADHD subtypesInattentionHyperactivity/impulsivityFactor analysisExecutive functioning

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012