Performance-based measures and behavioral ratings of executive function in diagnosing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children

  • Alexander Tan
  • Lauren Delgaty
  • Kayla Steward
  • Melissa Bunner
Original Article


Deficits in real-world executive functioning (EF) are a frequent characteristic of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, the predictive value of using performance-based and behavioral rating measures of EF when diagnosing ADHD remains unclear. The current study investigates the use of performance-based EF measures and a parent-report questionnaire with established ecological validity and clinical utility when diagnosing ADHD. Participants included 21 healthy controls, 21 ADHD—primary inattentive, and 21 ADHD—combined type subjects aged 6–15 years. A brief neuropsychological battery was administered to each subject including common EF assessment measures. Significant differences were not found between groups on most performance-based EF measures, whereas significant differences (p < 0.05) were found on most parent-report behavioral rating scales. Furthermore, performance-based measures did not predict group membership above chance levels. Results further support differences in predictive value of EF performance-based measures compared to parent-report questionnaires when diagnosing ADHD. Further research must investigate the relationship between performance-based and behavioral rating measures when assessing EF in ADHD.


ADHD Executive function BRIEF Ecological validity 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Austin Neuropsychology, PLLCAustinUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Texas Southwestern Medical CenterDallasUSA
  3. 3.Pinehurst NeuropsychologyPinehurstUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA

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