Co-occurrence of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in a school-identified sample of students with emotional and behavioral disorders: Implications for educational programming

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

J. D. McKinney - Committee Chair


The purpose of this research is to determine (a) the prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among school-identified students with emotional/behavior disorders (EBD), (b) the relationship between ADHD subtypes and the nature of students' emotional and behavior problems, (c) the extent to which the co-occurrence of ADHD with EBD affects academic performance depending on the ADHD subtype, and (d) whether there are distinct school practices for providing education for EBD students with ADHD as assessed by IEP goals and objectives as well as by teacher reported methods for providing individualized instruction.This study investigated the co-occurrence of ADHD with EBD in a school identified sample of 120 middle school students who attended two public schools that served only students with EBD. The criteria specified in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM IV) (APA, 1994) were used to classify students as ADHD and the Revised Behavior Problem Checklist (RBPC) was used to describe students' emotional and behavioral problems. Also data were collected from school records on students' educational history, socio-demographic characteristics, IQ and achievement scores, and IEP goals and objectives. Teachers were interviewed to determine the types of instructional methods they used with EBD students who had ADHD.The classification results indicated that 68% of the students with EBD also had ADHD. With respect to DSM IV ADHD subtypes, 14% had the predominantly inattentive type, 21% had the predominantly hyperactive/impulsive type, and 32% had the combined type (both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive).Students with EBD and those in each of the three ADHD subtypes who met DSM IV criteria for ADHD were compared. Results revealed significant group differences for achievement, number of suspensions, and four of the six subscales of the RBPC. No significant differences were found on socio-demographic variables, use of medication, IQ levels, number of conduct violations, initial age of identification for special education services and time from age of identification to placement in an EBD setting. Teacher interview and IEP data did not provide evidence that individualized methods were planned or used for ADHD students.


Psychology, Behavioral; Education, Educational Psychology; Education, Secondary; Psychology, Clinical; Education, Curriculum and Instruction

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