Confirming the Factor Structure of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms in Adult, Nonclinical Samples

Abstract

Three separate models have been proposed to describe the factor structure of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the past 20 years. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-III (DSM-III, 1980) proposed 3 separate factors of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. The DSM-III-R (1987) proposed a single factor. The DSM-IV (1994) described the disorder as having 2 factors: hyperactivity/impulsivity and inattention. The following 2 studies employed confirmatory factor analysis to compare each of these models and 3 alternative models. University students completed questionnaires that assessed each of the 18 symptoms listed in the DSM-IV for ADHD. The 3-factor model fit the data significantly better than each of the other models in both studies. These findings suggest that a 3-factor model of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity describes adult ADHD symptoms better than current alternatives.

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Correspondence to Sherry A. Span.

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Span, S.A., Earleywine, M. & Strybel, T.Z. Confirming the Factor Structure of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms in Adult, Nonclinical Samples. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 24, 129–136 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1015396926356

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  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • factor structure
  • confirmatory factor analysis