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Self-report of ADHD shows limited agreement with objective markers of persistence and remittance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-99
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of psychiatric research
Early online date25 Jul 2016
Accepted/In press21 Jul 2016
E-pub ahead of print25 Jul 2016
Published25 Jul 2016


King's Authors


OBJECTIVE: A controversial issue is whether self-report of symptoms and impairment is sufficient for diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adolescents and adults in the absence of other informants, such as parents. The present study investigated how well self-report is reflected by cognitive-neurophysiological and actigraph measures, which we have previously shown to discriminate between ADHD persisters, remitters and controls using parent-report (Cheung et al., 2015; Brit J Psychiat

METHOD: Parent- and self-reported ADHD symptoms and impairment, together with cognitive, electroencephalogram (EEG) frequency, event-related potential (ERP) and actigraph measures were obtained from 108 adolescents and young adults with childhood ADHD and 167 controls.

RESULTS: Participants reported lower levels of ADHD symptoms and impairments than parents (p < 0.05) and the ADHD persistence rate based on self-report was low at 44%, compared to the persistence rate of 79% previously reported based on parent-report. Regression analyses showed that the objective measures distinguished poorly between ADHD persistent and remittent groups based on self-report, in contrast to findings based on parent-report (Cheung et al., 2015), although the measures differentiated well between ADHD persisters and controls. Correlation analyses revealed that self-reported impairment significantly correlated with fewer of the objective measures, despite parent- and self-reported symptoms showing similar correlations with the measures.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings show that self-reported ADHD outcome is not as well reflected by cognitive-neurophysiological and movement correlates as we previously found for parent-reported ADHD.

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