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Keywords:

  • ADHD;
  • working memory;
  • executive function;
  • diagnosis

Background:  Deficits in executive functions have been widely reported to characterise individuals with ADHD. The aim of this study was to evaluate the utility of a range of executive function measures for identifying children with ADHD.

Method:  Eighty-three children with ADHD and 50 normally-developing children without ADHD were assessed on measures of inhibition, set-shifting, planning, problem-solving, response inhibition, sustained attention and working memory. Measures of sensitivity, specificity, likelihood ratios and diagnostic odds ratios were calculated.

Results:  Executive function tasks effectively discriminated between children with and without ADHD. Measures of response inhibition and working memory contributed the most to the discriminant function.

Conclusions:  Cognitive measures of executive function can be used to help identify children with ADHD and could be useful as additional diagnostic tools for clinical practitioners.