Psychological and neuropsychological underpinnings of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder assessment

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The identification and diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is extremely important in order to help change the trajectory of an individual’s life outcomes. A review of the current state of evidence-based assessment of ADHD is dominated by the DSM-5’s conceptualization of behaviorally-oriented diagnostic criteria. This assumption that the DSM-5’s method for identifying ADHD is the gold standard underlies the research base that evaluates the incremental validity of measures and methods for diagnosing it. That is, when evaluating whether a measure is useful in the identification of ADHD, the ‘right answer’ is based on the DSM-5’s behaviorally-oriented definition. An alternative model for considering the fact that ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, with its roots in executive dysfunction, is proposed. Using neuropsychological and cognitive tests to identify executive functioning problems can be combined with rating scales and interviews to diagnose ADHD in a way that does not ascribe entirely to a behavioral definition of the disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)783-794
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • comprehensive assessment
  • diagnosis
  • neuropsychological testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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