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J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2012 Jan;40(1):145-57. doi: 10.1007/s10802-011-9547-x.

Reward and punishment sensitivity in children with ADHD: validating the Sensitivity to Punishment and Sensitivity to Reward Questionnaire for children (SPSRQ-C).

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Department of Clinical Neuropsychology, VU University Amsterdam, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


This study validates the Sensitivity to Punishment and Sensitivity to Reward Questionnaire for children (SPSRQ-C), using a Dutch sample of 1234 children between 6-13 years old. Factor analysis determined that a 4-factor and a 5-factor solution were best fitting, explaining 41% and 50% of the variance respectively. The 4-factor model was highly similar to the original SPSRQ factors found in adults (Punishment Sensitivity, Reward Responsivity, Impulsivity/Fun-Seeking, and Drive). The 5-factor model was similar to the 4-factor model, with the exception of a subdivision of the Punishment Sensitivity factor into a factor with 'social-fear' items and a factor with 'anxiety' items. To determine external validity, scores of three groups of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were compared on the EFA models: ADHD-only (n = 34), ADHD and autism spectrum disorder (ADHD+ASD; n = 22), ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder (ADHD+ODD; n = 22). All ADHD groups scored higher than typical controls on Reward Responsivity and on the 'anxiety' factor (n = 75). The ADHD-only and ADHD+ODD group scored higher than other groups on Impulsivity/Fun-Seeking and Drive, while the ADHD+ASD group scored higher on Punishment Sensitivity. The findings emphasize the value of the SPSRQ-C to quickly and reliably assess a child's sensitivity to reinforcement, with the aim to provide individually-tailored behavioral interventions that utilize reward and reprimands.

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