Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 37, Issue 8, pp 1137–1150 | Cite as

The Unity and Diversity of Inattention and Hyperactivity/Impulsivity in ADHD: Evidence for a General Factor with Separable Dimensions

  • Maggie E. Toplak
  • Ashley Pitch
  • David B. Flora
  • Linda Iwenofu
  • Karen Ghelani
  • Umesh Jain
  • Rosemary Tannock


To examine the unity and diversity of inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity symptom domains of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in a clinical sample of adolescents with ADHD. Parents and adolescents were administered a semi-structured diagnostic interview, the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children — Present and Lifetime Version (K-SADS-PL), to assess adolescent ADHD. Data from 201 parent interviews and 189 adolescent interviews were examined. Four potential factor structures for the 18 ADHD symptoms were tested using confirmatory factor analysis: two models with correlated factors and two bifactor models. A bifactor model with two specific factors best accounted for adolescent symptoms, according to both parent and adolescents’ reports. Replication of these findings from behavioral rating scales completed for this sample by parents and teachers indicates that the findings are not method– or informant-specific. The results suggest that there is an important unitary component to ADHD symptoms and separable dimensional traits of Inattention and Hyperactivity/Impulsivity.


ADHD Symptom domains Inattention Hyperactivity/impulsivity Factor analysis Adolescents Bifactor model 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maggie E. Toplak
    • 1
    • 5
  • Ashley Pitch
    • 1
  • David B. Flora
    • 1
  • Linda Iwenofu
    • 1
  • Karen Ghelani
    • 2
  • Umesh Jain
    • 3
  • Rosemary Tannock
    • 4
  1. 1.York UniversityTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Neurosciences and Mental Health Research ProgramThe Hospital for Sick ChildrenTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Centre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Neurosciences and Mental Health Research Program, The Hospital for Sick ChildrenOntario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  5. 5.126 BSB, Department of PsychologyYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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