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20-02-2017 | Uitgave 7/2017 Open Access

Quality of Life Research 7/2017

The Weiss Functional Impairment Rating Scale-Parent Form for assessing ADHD: evaluating diagnostic accuracy and determining optimal thresholds using ROC analysis

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 7/2017
Trevor Thompson, Andrew Lloyd, Alain Joseph, Margaret Weiss
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Data from this study have previously been presented at the 165th Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, Philadelphia, PA, May 5–9, 2012, the EUNETHYDIS 2nd International ADHD Conference, Barcelona, Spain, May 23–25, 2012, and the 64th Institute on Psychiatric Services Conference, New York, USA, October 4–7, 2012.



The Weiss Functional Impairment Rating Scale-Parent Form (WFIRS-P) is a 50-item scale that assesses functional impairment on six clinically relevant domains typically affected in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As functional impairment is central to ADHD, the WFIRS-P offers potential as a tool for assessing functional impairment in ADHD. These analyses were designed to examine the overall performance of WFIRS-P in differentiating ADHD and non-ADHD cases using receiver operating characteristics (ROC) analysis. This is the first attempt to empirically determine the level of functional impairment that differentiates ADHD children from normal controls.


This observational study comprised 5–19-year-olds with physician-diagnosed ADHD (n = 476) and non-ADHD controls (n = 202). ROC analysis evaluated the ability of WFIRS-P to discriminate between ADHD and non-ADHD, and identified a WFIRS-P cut-off score that optimises correct classification. Data were analysed for the complete sample, for males versus females and for participants in two age groups (5–12 versus 13–19 years).


Area under the curve (AUC) was 0.91 (95% confidence interval 0.88–0.93) for the overall WFIRS-P score, suggesting highly accurate classification of ADHD distinct from non-ADHD. Sensitivity (0.83) and specificity (0.85) were maximal for a mean overall WFIRS-P score of 0.65, suggesting that this is an appropriate threshold for differentiation. DeLong’s test found no significant differences in AUCs for males versus females or 5–12 versus 13–19 years, suggesting that WFIRS-P is an accurate classifier of ADHD across gender and age.


When assessing function, WFIRS-P appears to provide a simple and effective basis for differentiating between individuals with/without ADHD in terms of functional impairment.


Disease-specific applications of QOL research.

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