Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair(s)

Gretchen A. Gimpel


Gretchen A. Gimpel


Dennis Odell


Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is among the most common reasons for referral to children's mental health clinics, with an estimated prevalence of 3% to 5% in the general population of school-age children. Children who exhibit the requisite behaviors may obtain a diagnosis of ADHD at any age; however, symptom onset must occur before age 7 and persist for at least 6 months. Despite these temporal requirements for diagnosis, little empirical information about the manifestation and stability of ADHD symptoms in preschool children exists. This study provides information about the initial presence and stability over one academic year of ADHD behaviors in a sample of 290 preschool children rated by mothers and/or teachers. Data suggest higher levels of these behaviors at home versus school, with behaviors remaining stable over the course of the academic year at school, and diminishing over this time period at home. Family environment factors (e.g., socioeconomic status, family stress) were not found to have strong predictive relationships with levels of ADHD behaviors in this sample of preschoolers including little support for a directional relationship between dysfunctional parenting behaviors and child ADHD symptoms. Conclusions and clinical implications of these finding, are provided and may assist psychologists in their efforts to diagnose and treat this disorder in young children.



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