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Redefining ADHD in an Adult Population

Title: Redefining ADHD in an Adult Population: Should Inattention Be Viewed as a Separate Dimension from Cognitive and Physiological Activity Level?.
Name(s): Miller, Nathan Andrew, author
Prevatt, Frances F., 1955-, professor directing dissertation
Stepina, Lee P., university representative
Canto, Angela I., committee member
Krach, S. Kathleen, committee member
Florida State University, degree granting institution
College of Education, degree granting college
Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems, degree granting department
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Doctoral Thesis
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2017
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource (110 pages)
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: The accepted structure of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has changed repeatedly and significantly over its history, with many symptoms being added, changed or dropped. Despite this, many questions remain about the nature of the disorder and the potentially related set of symptoms known by most researchers as sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT). This study sought to investigate the latent structure of ADHD and SCT by exploring the relationship between SCT, hyperactivity, and inattention as reported by adults. This study proposed that some of the structural issues found in ADHD may be due to the assumption of linearity, and proposed that two significant changes, if supported by the data, would offer some resolution. The first proposed change would be to view hyperactivity and sluggishness as a single continuum of activity level, rather than individual syndromes, and the second proposed change would be to view symptoms of inattention as a separate dimension from the hyperactivity and sluggishness. It was also proposed that evidence of the validity of this dimensional restructuring might be seen as a quadratic curvilinear, or U-shaped, regression line between inattention and the continuum of activity level, where inattention was highest toward the extremes of activity level and lowest at the midpoint of activity level. For the current study, symptoms of hyperactivity and sluggishness were matched by topic to form a continuum from low levels to high levels of activity. This measure, along with a symptom checklist for ADHD inattention, was included in a survey and provided to a sample of 1,398 adults throughout the United States, collected through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Participants demographics were similar to the population demographics with few variations. Measures of internal scale consistency and of normality were used to analyze the new Activity Level scale produced by matching hyperactivity and sluggishness, and curve estimation was conducted to analyze whether a quadratic regression model was a significant predictor of the relationship between activity level and inattention. Results of the analyses revealed that the new Activity Level scale was unimodal and within commonly accepted limits of internally consistency for both the full sample of participants and for the portion of the sample that endorsed a diagnosis of ADHD. Furthermore, results of the regression analysis indicated that a quadratic model of activity level and inattention accurately explained a small but significant portion of the variance in both the full sample of participants and the in the ADHD sample. Implications are discussed for the both theory and practice. Lastly, limitations of the study and directions for future research are included.
Identifier: 2018_Su_Miller_fsu_0071E_13923 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester 2017.
Date of Defense: April 24, 2017.
Keywords: ADHD, Curvilinear, Dimensional, Inattention, Latent structure, SCT
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Frances A. Prevatt, Professor Directing Dissertation; Lee P. Stepina, University Representative; Angela I. Canto, Committee Member; S. Kathleen Krach, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Psychology
Persistent Link to This Record:
Host Institution: FSU

Choose the citation style.
Miller, N. A. (2017). Redefining ADHD in an Adult Population: Should Inattention Be Viewed as a Separate Dimension from Cognitive and Physiological Activity Level? Retrieved from