Child Psychiatry and Human Development

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 353–366 | Cite as

The Diagnostic Utility of Behavioral Checklists in Identifying Children with ADHD and Children with Working Memory Deficits

  • Tracy Packiam AllowayEmail author
  • Susan E. Gathercole
  • Joni Holmes
  • Maurice Place
  • Julian G. Elliott
  • Kerry Hilton
Original Article


The present study investigated whether children with ADHD and those with working memory impairments have a common behavioral profile in the classroom. Three teacher checklists were used: the Conners’ teacher rating scale (CTRS), the behavior rating inventory of executive function (BRIEF), and the working memory rating scale. The Conners’ continuous performance test (CPT) was also included to determine whether there is a correspondence between performance on this widely used cognitive measure of attention deficits and teacher ratings of classroom behavior. All three behavior scales, but not the CPT, were able to successfully discriminate children with ADHD and those with working memory deficits from typically-developing children. Both the CTRS and the BRIEF discriminated a significant proportion of the children with ADHD from those with working memory deficits, indicating that while both groups exhibit behavioral problems in the classroom, they are characterized by differential attention profiles. The children with ADHD were identified on the basis of oppositional and hyperactive behavior, while those with working memory deficits were more inattentive.


ADHD Attention Working memory Continuous performance test Behavior rating scales 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tracy Packiam Alloway
    • 1
    Email author
  • Susan E. Gathercole
    • 3
  • Joni Holmes
    • 3
  • Maurice Place
    • 4
  • Julian G. Elliott
    • 2
  • Kerry Hilton
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of StirlingStirlingUK
  2. 2.School of EducationUniversity of DurhamDurhamUK
  3. 3.York UniversityYorkUK
  4. 4.Hartlepool Child & Adolescent Mental Health ServiceNorthumbria UniversityNew castleUK

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