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The diagnostic utility of executive function assessments in the identification of ADHD in children

Holmes, J.; Gathercole, S.E.; Place, M.; Alloway, T.P.; Elliott, J.; Hilton, K.A.


J. Holmes

S.E. Gathercole

M. Place

T.P. Alloway

K.A. Hilton


Background: Deficits in executive functions have been widely reported to characterise individuals with ADHD. The aim of this study was to evaluate the utility of a range of executive function measures for identifying children with ADHD. Method: Eighty-three children with ADHD and 50 normally-developing children without ADHD were assessed on measures of inhibition, set-shifting, planning, problem-solving, response inhibition, sustained attention and working memory. Measures of sensitivity, specificity, likelihood ratios and diagnostic odds ratios were calculated. Results: Executive function tasks effectively discriminated between children with and without ADHD. Measures of response inhibition and working memory contributed the most to the discriminant function. Conclusions: Cognitive measures of executive function can be used to help identify children with ADHD and could be useful as additional diagnostic tools for clinical practitioners.


Holmes, J., Gathercole, S., Place, M., Alloway, T., Elliott, J., & Hilton, K. (2010). The diagnostic utility of executive function assessments in the identification of ADHD in children. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 15(1), 37-43.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Feb 1, 2010
Deposit Date Feb 18, 2010
Journal Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Print ISSN 1475-357X
Electronic ISSN 1475-3588
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 1
Pages 37-43
Keywords ADHD, Working memory, Executive function, Diagnosis.