Ten-year review of rating scales. V: scales assessing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2003 Sep;42(9):1015-37. doi: 10.1097/01.CHI.0000070245.24125.B6.


Objective: This article summarizes information on scales assessing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adolescents.

Method: The authors sampled articles on ADHD over the past decade. Several popular older ADHD measures have recently been revised, and new ADHD scales have been developed. The authors selected primarily ADHD scales based on the DSM-IV construct of ADHD that also have multiple literature citations. They then reviewed their psychometric properties. Those with adequate psychometric functioning plus considerable literature citations, known wide usage in clinical practice, or a current niche are presented here.

Results: Several rating scales consistent with the DSM-IV conceptualization of ADHD are now available for use in both home and school settings. Many of the instruments demonstrate solid psychometric properties and a strong normative base. However, some popular scales have not been adequately investigated. Some measures are restricted to the comprehensive assessment of ADHD, whereas others also include symptoms of other disorders. The potential applications for these scales with youths diagnosed with ADHD are broad.

Conclusions: Rating scales can reliably, validly, and efficiently measure DSM-IV-based ADHD symptoms in youths. They have great utility in research and clinical work, assist treatment planning, and help to ensure accountability in practice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / classification*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology
  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Humans
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales*
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity