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Nervenarzt. 2008 Mar;79(3):320-7. doi: 10.1007/s00115-007-2375-0.

[Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults. Benchmarking diagnosis using the Wender-Reimherr adult rating scale].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Neurozentrum, Universitätsklinikum des Saarlandes, 66421, Homburg/Saar.


We report on a study comparing different systems for the diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adulthood. Recruited for evaluation were 168 patients referred to our ADHD outpatient unit. We used the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th edn. (DSM-IV), International Classification of Diseases 10th edn. (ICD-10), and Utah criteria for diagnostic assessment and the Wender Utah rating scale, ADHD Self Report (ADHD-SR), and Wender Reimherr Adult Attention Deficit Disorder Rating Scale as psychopathological assessment tools. We present basic psychometric data of the Wender-Reimherr Interview (WRI). Internal consistency was determined as 0.82 (alpha). The inter-rater reliability was 1.0 (kappa coefficient) regarding ADHD diagnoses, and the ICC was 0.98 referring to the WRI total scores. The convergent validity with the ADHD-SR was 0.65 (Spearman coefficient). In 126 of 168 patients an ADHD diagnosis was made according to at least one of the three systems. The DSM-IV diagnostic set led to 119 ADHD diagnoses. As compared with the two other systems, this is about the minimum level for an ADHD diagnosis. All of the 87 ADHD diagnoses according to ICD-10 were covered by DSM-IV. The ICD-10 had no independent psychopathological items and therefore offered no additional points for the diagnostic procedure than the DSM-IV. The situation regarding Utah criteria is different. These criteria contain seven psychopathological domains: inattention, hyperactivity, disorganisation, impulsivity, affective lability, overreactivity, and hot temper. They can be assessed by use of the WRI. Ninety-three of 168 patients were diagnosed as having ADHD according to the Utah concept, which is much lower than with the DSM-IV. The particular definition of the disorder by the Utah criteria resulted in seven patients having only a Utah diagnosis but no DSM-IV diagnosis. Thus we are in a position to say that the Utah criteria have a relatively high level for making an ADHD diagnosis but in certain cases move beyond the DSM-IV. Of the patients 56% had ADHD diagnoses according to all three classification instruments. Examining the factor structure of the ADHD psychopathology represented by seven WRI and three ADHD-SR subscales, we found a two-factor solution explaining for 63% of the variance. Factor 1 was designated by impulsivity, affective lability, hyperactivity, and hot temper; factor 2 consisted of inattention, disorganisation, and overreactivity.

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