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Comparison of diagnostic criteria for attention deficit disorders in a German elementary school sample.

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  • 1Division of Child Development, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37232-3573, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study compares teacher-reported prevalence rates for disruptive behavior disorders using DSM-IV, DSM-III-R, and DSM-III criteria within the same population of elementary school students and examines the relationships between DSM "subtypes" and academic performance, perceived behavior problems, and demographic variables.

METHOD:

Teacher rating scales were obtained on 1,077 students in five rural and five urban public schools in Regensburg, Germany. Rating scales included DSM-III-R items (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder), DSM-IV items (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders [AD/HDs], oppositional defiant disorder), and DSM-III items (attention deficit disorder, with and without hyperactivity). Factor analyses of significance were performed.

RESULTS:

Overall prevalence for attention deficit disorders increased from 9.6% (DSM-III) to 17.8% (DSM-IV) primarily because of new cases identified as AD/HD-AD (inattentive type) and to a lesser degree, AD/HD-HI (hyperactive-impulsive type). Inattention in any subtype was associated with academic problems, and perceived behavior problems were associated with more than 80% of the cases that included hyperactivity-impulsivity. DSM-IV AD/HD subtypes showed significant behavioral, academic, and demographic differences.

CONCLUSION:

Application of DSM-IV criteria increased total AD/HD prevalence rates by 64% and identified the majority of children with academic and/or behavioral dysfunction. The data show significant heterogeneity between the subtypes and imply that many children screened into these subtypes require further evaluation to ensure appropriate management.

PMID:
7775358
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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