Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Galen Alessi

Second Advisor

Dr. C. Richard Spates

Third Advisor

Dr. Helen D. Pratt

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Mark Sloane


Current assessment taxonomy, including the DSM -IV and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) (World Health Organization, 1990) editions, have provided semistructured criteria sets to aid professionals in making a diagnosis of ADHD or ADD. The diagnostic taxonomy criteria, however, have resulted in a very heterogeneous population of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disordered (ADHD) individuals. Several studies have attempted to assess the behavioral syndromes— Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)/Conduct Disorder (CD)/ Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)—in terms of test or symptom sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive power, and negative predictive power (Landau, Milich, & Widiger, 1991; Milich, Widiger, & Landau, 1987; Waldman & Lilienfeld, 1991). Assessing conditional probabilities for individual criteria, as well as diagnostic categories, while accounting for prevalence rates, provides a statistical mechanism to estimate the accuracy and usefulness of a given test or assessment device (Cebul & Beck, 1985; Galen & Gambino, 1975). This study involved verbal report from parents, endorsing child symptomatology on a measure designed for this study. Parents also completed other common measures used to evaluate attention, hyperactivity, and behavioral disorders, including the Conners Parent Rating Scale-48 (CPRS—48; Conners, 1990), Child Behavior Check List (CBCL; Achenbach, 1991), and the Attention Deficit Disorders Evaluation Scale (ADDES; McCamey, 1995). Overall, the findings suggest considerable differences based on measure, interpretation level, and prevalence level used to identify ADHD compared to a physician endorsed ADHD sample or a DSM -IV classified sample. ADDES, CBCL, and CPRS-48 tended to have acceptable sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive power, and negative predictive power. The Child Symptom Rating Scale, the measure developed for this study, rating D SM -IV criteria for childhood behavioral disorders, resulted in much lower consistency in predictive values. Implications and consideration of dimensionality of the diagnostic criteria for childhood behavioral disorders are discussed.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access