Types of adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A replication analysis

Frederick W. Reimherr, Michael Roesler, Barrie K. Marchant, Thomas E. Gift, Wolfgang Retz, Florence Philipp-Wiegmann, Matthew L. Reimherr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objective: Research supports the importance of emotional symptoms in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which are not reflected in the DSM-5 or ICD-10 criteria. The Wender-Reimherr Adult Attention Deficit Disorder Scale (WRAADDS) assesses these symptoms, plus inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. This scale allowed us to divide adult ADHD into 2 subtypes in a 2015 publication: ADHD inattentive presentation and ADHD emotional dysregulation presentation. The present study refines this observation using a larger, more diverse sample. Methods: Eight double-blind adult ADHD clinical trials (encompassing 1,490 subjects) were selected because they included assessment with the WRAADDS; a second, alternative ADHD measure; and the Clinical Global Impressions-Severity of Illness scale (CGI-S). These data were subjected to confirmatory factor analyses, and ADHD presentations were compared, including treatment response. Results: The original factor structure fit poorly with these new data. However, an alternative 2-factor solution fit both the original and the new subjects. ADHD inattentive presentation (n = 774) was defined by the inattention factor, and ADHD emotional dysregulation presentation (n = 620) was defined by additional elevation of the emotional dysregulation factor. The proportion of ADHD emotional dysregulation presentation ranged from 25% to 73% across the 8 studies. The emotional dysregulation presentation was associated with both a greater severity as measured by the CGI-S (P < .001) and more manifestations of childhood ADHD as measured by the Wender Utah Rating Scale (P < .001). Conclusions: Factor analytic results supported the validity of 2 adult ADHD presentations based on levels of emotional dysregulation. This system offers a more clinically relevant approach to the diagnosis of ADHD in adults than does the DSM system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number19m13077
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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