Psychometric properties of a sluggish cognitive tempo scale in Japanese adults with and without ADHD

  • Toshinobu TakedaEmail author
  • G. Leonard Burns
  • Yuanyuan Jiang
  • Stephen P. Becker
  • Keith McBurnett
Original Article


This study examined the psychometric properties, convergent validity, and divergent validity of a Japanese translation of Barkley (The Barkley adult ADHD rating scale–IV, Guilford Press, New York, 2011) rating scale for assessing sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT) in adults. In total, 429 Japanese adults participated across three samples: 26 diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; ages 19–50), 81 adults without ADHD (ages 22–65), and 322 university students (ages 18–27). All participants completed rating scales of SCT, ADHD, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. A subset of participants completed the SCT measure at two time points two weeks apart. The SCT measure (5 items) showed acceptable levels of internal consistency and test–retest reliability. This scale also demonstrated convergent and discriminant validity, as evidenced by factor analyses between SCT and ADHD inattention (ADHD-IN) symptoms as well as adequate fit of a four-factor model involving SCT, ADHD-IN, ADHD-hyperactivity/impulsivity (ADHD-HI), and internalizing symptoms. Additionally, SCT and ADHD-IN dimensions were differentially associated with ADHD-HI and internalizing factors. The ADHD group scored higher on SCT ratings compared to the student and adult non-ADHD groups even after controlling for the severity of ADHD and internalizing symptoms. The 5-item SCT measure appears reliable and demonstrates preliminary evidence of validity in Japanese adults, providing initial support for the transcultural validity of the SCT construct. Additional studies are needed to further evaluate the SCT items that did not meet criteria for convergent and discriminant validity in the current study, and to examine functional outcomes of individuals recruited based on clinically elevated SCT symptoms.


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) Adult ADHD Japan Sluggish cognitive tempo Rating scale 



The authors received no specific funding for this work. Stephen Becker is currently supported by award number K23MH108603 from the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Dr. Becker has received research support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Dr. McBurnett has received research support from IES and Shire and has received presentation honoraria from Sunovion.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical PsychologyRyukoku UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  4. 4.Department of Educational PsychologyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  5. 5.Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical PsychologyCincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA
  6. 6.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Cincinnati College of MedicineCincinnatiUSA

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