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J Atten Disord. 2002 Jan;5(3):155-64.

Validity of the Brown ADD scales: an investigation in a predominantly inattentive ADHD adolescent sample with and without reading disabilities.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, Private Bag 4800, New Zealand.


The Brown ADD Scale for Adolescents is widely used in clinical settings, yet, no published studies have investigated divergent and concurrent validity and specificity and sensitivity to inattentive ADHD symptomatology. Ninety-eight participants (13 to 16 years) were classified as ADHD/I and/or reading disabled (RD) using Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorder and Schizophrenia (K-SADS), Conners' Rating Scales (CRS-R), and Ontario Child Health Study Scales (OCHSS), WRAT3, and WRMT-R. The results were: 29 ADHD/I; 12 RD, 16 ADHD/I with RD; and, 41 controls. The RD group was included to evaluate specificity. The Brown was administered but not used in classification. The ADHD groups scored higher on the Brown subscales compared with the other two groups. The recommended cutoffs resulted in high rates of false negatives but few false positives; this suggests good specificity but poor sensitivity. There were moderate correlations among the Brown, CRS-R, and OCHSS. The Brown can be useful in screening out ADHD; however, its low sensitivity precludes its usefulness in diagnosing ADHD.

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