Identifying “Inattentive” and “Combined” Types of ADHD Among Puerto Rican School Children

Many studies have attempted to distinguish between types of ADHD in samples of Anglophone children. To test the distinction between the “Inattentive” type (IT) and “Combined” hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive type (CT) of ADHD among Puerto Rican children, Bauermeister et al. (2005) used a variety of assessment procedures to diagnose school children in the San Juan Metro Area as IT, CT, or not ADHD (the control group). The IT (N = 25), CT (N = 44), and control (N = 29) groups were then compared on measures that had not been used in the diagnostic process.

The following CBCL syndrome scores discriminated significantly among the groups: Aggressive Behavior and Delinquent (now called “Rule-Breaking”) Behavior scores were significantly higher for CT children than for either IT or control children; however, the CBCL Withdrawn (now called “Withdrawn/Depressed”) scores were significantly higher for both IT and CT children than for control children. Furthermore, CBCL and TRF items used by Baumeister et al. to measure “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo” yielded significantly higher scores for IT than for CT children who, in turn, obtained significantly higher scores than control children. Among the many measures of problems used by Baumeister et al., the Sluggish Cognitive Tempo items of both the CBCL and TRF were the only ones on which IT children scored significantly higher than CT children, who nevertheless scored significantly higher than control children.

The authors concluded that “IT and CT groups display qualitatively different inattention symptoms . . . IT presents more of an inattention style characterized by sluggishness, underactivity, confusion, daydreaming, and staring, as reported by mothers and teachers. The main difficulty of IT children appears to be focusing attention and regulating alertness” (p. 176).

Reference: Bauermeister, J.J., Matos, M., Reina, G., Salas, C.C. Martinez, J.V., Cumba, E., & Barkley, R.A. (2005). Comparison of the DSM-IV combined and inattentive type of ADHD in a school-based sample of Latino/Hispanic children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 46, 166-179.