The shifting subtypes of ADHD: classification depends on how symptom reports are combined. Academic Article uri icon


  • Research on the correlates of ADHD subtypes has yielded inconsistent findings, perhaps because the procedures used to define subtypes vary across studies. We examined this possibility by investigating whether the ADHD subtype distribution in a community sample was sensitive to different methods for combining informant data. We conducted a study to screen all children in grades 1-5 (N = 7847) in a North Carolina County for ADHD. Teachers completed a DSM-IV behavior rating scale and parents completed a structured telephone interview. We found substantial differences in the distribution of ADHD subtypes depending on whether one or both sources were used to define the subtypes. When parent and teacher data were combined, the procedures used substantially influenced subtype distribution. We conclude the ADHD subtype distribution is sensitive to how symptom information is combined and that standardization of the subtyping process is required to advance our understanding of the correlates of different ADHD subtypes.

publication date

  • July 2008