Evidence for a General ADHD Factor from a Longitudinal General School Population Study
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Recent factor analytic studies in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have shown that hierarchical models provide a better fit of ADHD symptoms than correlated models. A hierarchical model includes a general ADHD factor and specific factors for inattention, and hyperactivity/impulsivity. The aim of this 12-month longitudinal study was to test the generalizability of the hierarchical models of ADHD within an elementary school population of 6–9 year old children (250 boys, 260 girls). Examination of differences as a function of informant (parent vs. teacher ratings), sex, and time was conducted. Six potential factor structures for the 18 items of the SWAN (Strengths and Weaknesses of ADHD-symptoms and Normal-behavior) scale were tested using confirmatory and exploratory factor analyses. Hierarchical models with a general ADHD factor and two or three specific factors best accounted for parent and teacher reports of symptoms for both boys and girls and at two time points separated by a 12-month interval. Findings indicate that the 18 SWAN items measure a common latent trait as well as orthogonal factors or dimensions of inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity.
KeywordsADHD Childhood Inattention Hyperactivity/impulsivity General factor Hierarchical model School sample
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