Morehead State University

Poster Title

High Levels of Test Anxiety May Bias Scores on Popular Narrow Band AD/HD Rating Scales

Institution

Morehead State University

Abstract

Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (AD/HD) is a common, but frequently misdiagnosed psychiatric disorder in adults. Attention rating scales are commonly used in the diagnostic process for determining AD/HD. Few of these measures, however, have comparable clinical data which aid the clinician in discriminating between attention problems due to AD/HD and those which are secondary to other related psychiatric disorders, such as forms of depression and anxiety. Prior work in our lab has shown that subclinical levels of depression and anxiety are sufficient to yield a false positive AD/HD score in individuals without any history of AD/HD. The present study extends current knowledge in this area by demonstrating the impact of test anxiety on scores from popular narrow band AD/HD rating scales in college students. Three hundred college adults completed extensive psychosocial and academic history gathering questionnaires, the Test Anxiety Inventory, and several narrow band AD/HD Rating Scales (e.g., Adult AD/HD Self Report Scale-v1.1., Connors Adult AD/HD Rating Scales). As predicted, individuals' reporting high levels of test anxiety (1.5 standard deviations above norm), yielded significantly higher attention rating scores on narrow band AD/HD rating scales in contrast to those with normal levels of test anxiety. In addition, the level of reported test anxiety among test anxious individuals was sufficient to yield false positive scores on narrow band AD/HD rating scales in the absence of any history of AD/HD.

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High Levels of Test Anxiety May Bias Scores on Popular Narrow Band AD/HD Rating Scales

Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (AD/HD) is a common, but frequently misdiagnosed psychiatric disorder in adults. Attention rating scales are commonly used in the diagnostic process for determining AD/HD. Few of these measures, however, have comparable clinical data which aid the clinician in discriminating between attention problems due to AD/HD and those which are secondary to other related psychiatric disorders, such as forms of depression and anxiety. Prior work in our lab has shown that subclinical levels of depression and anxiety are sufficient to yield a false positive AD/HD score in individuals without any history of AD/HD. The present study extends current knowledge in this area by demonstrating the impact of test anxiety on scores from popular narrow band AD/HD rating scales in college students. Three hundred college adults completed extensive psychosocial and academic history gathering questionnaires, the Test Anxiety Inventory, and several narrow band AD/HD Rating Scales (e.g., Adult AD/HD Self Report Scale-v1.1., Connors Adult AD/HD Rating Scales). As predicted, individuals' reporting high levels of test anxiety (1.5 standard deviations above norm), yielded significantly higher attention rating scores on narrow band AD/HD rating scales in contrast to those with normal levels of test anxiety. In addition, the level of reported test anxiety among test anxious individuals was sufficient to yield false positive scores on narrow band AD/HD rating scales in the absence of any history of AD/HD.