Michael J. Silverstein , Stephen V. Faraone, Terry L. Leon, Joseph Biederman, Thomas J. Spencer, and Lenard A. Adler
Journal of Attention Disorders. 1–11: 2018. DOI: 10.1177/1087054718804347
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.) (DSM-5) still defines ADHD symptoms in terms nine inattentive (IA) and nine hyperactive-impulsive (H-I) symptoms, to form the core eighteen symptoms of the disorder; this is in spite of a large literature that indicates that higher level symptoms of organization, planning and prioritization known as Executive Function Deficits (EFDs) common co-travel with symptoms of ADHD and are highly impairing to adults with ADHD. The investigators examined the relationship of core ADHD IA and HI symptoms and EFDs and the predictive utility of the Adult ADHD Investigator Symptom Rating Scale (AISRS) in identifying those with adult ADHD and Executive Dysfunction (ED). The AISRS is a clinician-administered, severity based (0-3), semistructured interview, containing adult ADHD specific prompts, developed to evaluate ADHD symptoms at baseline and during treatment. The Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS) Symptom Checklist was also administered. Both the AISRS and ASRS Symptom Checklist were expanded to not only include the 18 core DSM-5 symptoms of ADHD, but also nine additional symptoms of EFD and four symptoms of Emotional Dyscontrol (EC). Executive Function was also assessed via the BRIEF-A, a well-normed scale to assess EF, with patients with global executive complex (GEC) T scores T >= 65 (1.5 standard deviations above the mean, 93 percentile) being indicative of ED. Subjects were recruited from referrals to a university adult ADHD program or a primary care clinical practice; 297 subjects participated (171 with adult ADHD). (IA) and (H-I) symptoms on the AISRS and ASRS Symptom Checklist were moderately to strongly correlated with and highly predictive of EFDs (with correlations being stronger for IA symptoms). Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis showed that an AISRS DSM 18-item score of ⩾ = 28 was most predictive of clinical ED. This study is to clinicians because it highlights the importance of assessing EFDs in addition to core symptoms of IA and HI when evaluating patients with adult ADHD.