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Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2011 Sep;20(9):451-8. doi: 10.1007/s00787-011-0198-9. Epub 2011 Jul 21.

Screening for the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder phenotype using the strength and difficulties questionnaire.

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Unifob Health Department, RBUP Vest, 7810 Bergen, Norway.


The strengths and difficulties questionnaire (SDQ) is a broad-band child mental health instrument, which has been reported to be a good screener for the ADHD phenotype. Questionnaires containing the SDQ and the 18 SNAP-IV items corresponding to the DSM-IV ADHD symptoms were completed by parents and teachers for 66% (N = 6,233) of all 7- to 9-year-olds in the city of Bergen, Norway, 2002. Screening properties of the five-item SDQ hyperactivity-inattention subscale for the DSM-IV ADHD phenotype were examined. Using the DSM-IV ADHD phenotype based on both informants as the gold standard (5.2% of the sample), the receiver operating characteristics (ROC) analyses demonstrated an area under the curve of 0.91 (95% CI: 0.90-0.92) for parent and 0.95 (95% CI: 0.94-0.95) for teacher SDQ hyperactivity-inattention subscale ratings. The SDQ hyperactivity-inattention predictive algorithm identified 74% of those with the ADHD combined subtype as possible or probable cases, but only 22% of those with the inattentive subtype. The 5-item long SDQ hyperactivity-inattention subscale is a shorter substitute for the 18-item ADHD symptom list. The SDQ predictive algorithm had an acceptable sensitivity for the ADHD combined subtype, but low sensitivity for the ADHD inattentive and the ADHD hyperactive subtypes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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