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Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2007 Jun;61(3):211-8.

Psychometric study of the test of variables of attention: preliminary findings on Taiwanese children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

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Department of Child Psychiatry, Chang Gung Children's Hospital, Linkou, Taiwan.


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common mental disorder in children. Unfortunately, reliable means of measuring attention and impulsivity to help with diagnoses are scarce. The test of variables of attention (TOVA) is a computer-administered continuous performance test measuring attention and impulsivity, designed to avoid confounding arising from language processing skills or short-term memory problems. Some evidence has indicated the TOVA can be useful in diagnosing ADHD. This study examines its validity and reliability in helping diagnose Taiwanese ADHD children. The study included 31 ADHD children (24 males, seven females) from a northern Taiwan children's hospital and 30 normal controls (18 males, 12 females) from the local community. The TOVA and the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) were administered to all children. TOVA scores for omissions, commissions, response time, response time variability, D' and ADHD scores were analyzed. Results showed a mean internal consistency of 0.81 for all six TOVA variables across conditions, with moderate convergent and discriminant validities. Groups showed significant differences in response time variability, D' and ADHD scores, with the normal group outperforming the ADHD group. Significant group differences were also found in all CBCL subscale scores except somatic complaints. The ADHD group obtained a clinically significant score on the hyperactivity subscale of the CBCL. The findings partially support the usefulness of the TOVA in assessing attention and impulsivity problems for a Taiwanese sample. Future studies should increase the sample size, use multiple measures, and collect behavior ratings from both parents and teachers.

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