Robust evidence exists that the brain functioning of children and adolescents with attention- deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) differs from that of normal controls. The purpose of this study was to further investigate whether event-related potential (ERP) measures of brain function could be used to reliably classify normal controls versus children and adolescents with two subtypes of AD/ HD. Methods: Behavioural and topographic ERP data from children aged 8–12 years (n = 75) and adolescents aged 13–18 years (n = 75) were entered into stepwise discriminant function analyses separating controls and subjects with AD/HD, and also subjects with AD/HD-Predominantly Inattentive type (AD/HDin) from those with AD/HD-Combined type (AD/HDcom). Results: For children aged 8–12 years, controls and children with AD/HD could be separated with an overall classification accuracy of 73.3%, and the AD/HD subtypes were classified with 69.4% overall accuracy. For adolescents aged 13–18 years, 58.7% of the control vs. AD/HD subjects were correctly classified, and 62.7% of subjects in the subtypes. Classification function coefficients for each of these discriminations are presented for the purposes of cross-validation. Conclusions: In children aged 8–12 years, analysis of ERP data may aid a clinician in diagnosing AD/HD, although the clinical utility of ERP analysis is reduced for adolescents aged 13–18 years. Suggestions are made to combine ERP measures with other measures of brain function in order to improve classification accuracy, and also to predict drug response in children diagnosed with AD/HD. Keywords: Event-related potential, AD/HD, subtypes, diagnosis, discriminant function analysis. Abbreviations: ERP: Event-related potential.
Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry Vol. 44, Issue 7, p. 1067-1075