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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2012 Sep;53(9):927-36. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2012.02549.x. Epub 2012 Apr 19.

The factor structure of ADHD in a general population of primary school children.

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  • 1Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Uni Health, Uni Research, Bergen, Norway.



To examine whether a bifactor model with a general ADHD factor and domain specific factors of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity was supported in a large general population sample of children. We also explored the utility of forming subscales based on the domain-specific factors.


Child mental health questionnaires were completed by both teachers and parents of all children in grades 2-4 in Bergen, Norway. Confirmatory factor analysis was performed on the ADHD items of a modified version of the Swanson, Nolan and Pelham Questionnaire-IV (SNAP-IV) for 6,237 children.


The bifactor model showed very good model fit with a strong general ADHD factor and specific factors for impulsivity and inattention. The subfactors, especially hyperactivity, generated from the SNAP-IV ADHD items conveyed little unique variance in the model.


The findings in this general population sample with a strong general ADHD factor in the bifactor model supports the view on ADHD as a unitary concept with specific domain factors for inattention and impulsivity, but not for hyperactivity. The bifactor model questions the utility of constructing ADHD subscales by the use of a simple sum score when using the SNAP-IV.

© 2012 The Authors. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry © 2012 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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