Halo Effects in Ratings of ADHD and ODD: Identification of Susceptible Symptoms
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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.
KeywordsHalo effects Disruptive behaviors Assessment Rating scales
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.
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