Advertisement

Halo Effects in Ratings of ADHD and ODD: Identification of Susceptible Symptoms

  • Cynthia M. Hartung
  • Elizabeth K. Lefler
  • Ashley B. Tempel
  • Monica L. Armendariz
  • Benjamin A. Sigel
  • Carolyn S. Little
Article

Abstract

Halo effects in the assessment of ADHD and ODD were examined. Participants were 159 undergraduate college students who rated children described as showing disruptive behaviors. Bidirectional halo effects were found. Specifically, the presence of oppositionality artificially inflated ratings of inattention and hyperactivity, and the combined presence of inattention and hyperactivity artificially inflated ratings of oppositionality. Several specific items were found to be particularly susceptible to halo effects. Due to these halo effects caution should be exercised when diagnosing multiple behavior disorders, especially with items found to be particularly susceptible. Clinical interviews conducted by mental health professionals may help distinguish between the true presence of multiple disorders and halo effects based on ratings. Future research should determine whether structured interviews conducted by mental health professionals are less susceptible to halo effects than rating scales.

Keywords

Halo effects Disruptive behaviors Assessment Rating scales 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the following individuals for their contributions to this project: Chelsea Bauer, Lori Brinlee, John Chaney, Lindsey DeVries, Gay Deitrich-MacLean, Robert Gallen, Sandhya Nambiar, Alan King, MaryBeth McGavran, Kurt Michael, Sara Penning, Jonathan Rule, Douglas Scambler, Brandi Shaw, Katherine Stone, Maureen Sullivan and Ben Wilkowski. In addition, we are grateful to Richard Milich, Christine McKibbin, and several anonymous reviewers for their comments on previous versions of this manuscript.

References

  1. Abikoff, H., Courtney, M., Pelham, W. E., & Koplewicz, H. S. (1993). Teachers’ ratings of disruptive behaviors: The influence of halo effects. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 21, 519–533.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 4 th edition, Text revision. Washington, DC: Author.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barkley, R. A. (2006). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A handbook for diagnosis and treatment. In R. A. Barkley (Ed.), Comorbid disorders, social and family adjustment, and subtyping (3rd ed.). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  4. Barkley, R. A., & Murphy, K. R. (2006). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A clinical workbook (3rd ed.). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  5. Burns, G. L., Boe, B., Walsh, J. A., Sommers-Flanagan, R., & Teegarden, L. A. (2001). A confirmatory factor analysis on the DSM-IV ADHD and ODD symptoms: What is the best model for the organization of these symptoms? Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 29, 339–349.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Conners, C. K. (1969). A teacher rating scale for use in drug studies with children. American Journal of Psychiatry, 126, 884–888.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Hartung, C. M., Van Pelt, J. C., Armendariz, M. L., & Knight, L. A. (2006). Biases in ratings of disruptive behavior in children: Effects of sex and negative halos. Journal of Attention Disorders, 9, 620–630.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Jackson, D. A., & King, A. R. (2004). Gender differences in the effects of oppositional behavior on teacher ratings of ADHD symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 32, 215–224.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. McMahon, R. J., & Frick, P. J. (2005). Evidence-based assessment of conduct problems in children and adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 34, 477–505.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Pelham, W. E., Gnagy, E. M., Greenslade, K. E., & Milich, R. (1992). Teacher ratings of DSM-III-R symptoms for the disruptive behavior disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 31, 210–218.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Pelham, W. E., Fabiano, G. A., & Massetti, G. M. (2005). Evidence-based assessment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 34, 449–476.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Schachar, R., Sandberg, S., & Rutter, M. (1986). Agreement between teachers’ ratings and observations of hyperactivity, inattentiveness, and defiance. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 14, 331–345.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Sheskin, D. J. (2007). Handbook of parametric and nonparametric statistical procedures (4th ed.). Boca Raton, FL: Chapman & Hall/CRC.Google Scholar
  14. Stevens, J., Quittner, A. L., & Abikoff, H. (1998). Factors influencing elementary school teachers’ ratings of ADHD and ODD behaviors. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 4, 406–414.Google Scholar
  15. Swanson, J. & Carlson, C. L. (1994). DSM-IV rating scale for ADHD and ODD. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  16. Wolraich, M. L., Lambert, W., Doffing, M. A., Bickman, L., Simmons, T., & Worley, K. (2003). Psychometric properties of the Vanderbilt ADHD diagnostic parent rating scale in a referred population. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 28, 559–568.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cynthia M. Hartung
    • 1
  • Elizabeth K. Lefler
    • 2
  • Ashley B. Tempel
    • 3
  • Monica L. Armendariz
    • 2
  • Benjamin A. Sigel
    • 2
  • Carolyn S. Little
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WyomingLaramieUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

Personalised recommendations