Publication Date

Spring 2018

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Ryan Farmer (Director), Dr. Carl Myers, Dr. Daniel McBride

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


There are many challenges that come with diagnosing attentiondeficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), including shared symptoms with many similar disorders, high comorbidity of other mental disorders, and subjective bias from informant reports. Three clinical guidelines for diagnosing ADHD currently exist, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP). However, these guidelines are outdated as they are based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) and do not include more recent research. This project was intended to update these guidelines by incorporating the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) as well as a selection of research on ADHD diagnosis published in the last ten years. This updated set of guidelines can be found in Appendix A of this document. Emphasis is on the evidence-based assessment model of using only psychometrically strong assessment measures and basing diagnostic decisions on posterior probabilities. Review of the literature also indicated a need to assess for differential and comorbid diagnoses in ADHD evaluations. Recommendations for doing so are discussed. Lastly, results of the review provided a strong argument against the use of continuous performance tests (CPTs) and other executive functioning measures in diagnosing ADHD, as their diagnostic accuracy is generally not acceptable.


Behavioral Disciplines and Activities | Child Psychology | Clinical Psychology | Mental Disorders | School Psychology