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Relations between response trajectories on the Continuous Performance Test and teacher-rated problem behaviors in preschoolers

Although both the continuous performance test (CPT) and behavior rating scales are used in both practice and research to assess inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive behaviors, the correlations between performance on the CPT and teachers' ratings are typically only small-to-moderate. This study examined trajectories of performance on a low target-frequency visual CPT in a sample of preschool children and how these trajectories were associated with teacher-ratings of problem behaviors (i.e., inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity [H/I], and oppositional/defiant behavior). Participants included 399 preschool children (mean age = 56 months; 49.4% female; 73.7% White/Caucasian). An attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) rating scale was completed by teachers, and the CPT was completed by the preschoolers. Results showed that children's performance across 4 temporal blocks on the CPT was not stable across the duration of the task, with error rates generally increasing from initial to later blocks. The predictive relations of teacher-rated problem behaviors to performance trajectories on the CPT were examined using growth curve models. Higher rates of teacher-reported inattention and H/I were uniquely associated with higher rates of initial omission errors and initial commission errors, respectively. Higher rates of teacher-reported overall problem behaviors were associated with increasing rates of omission but not commission errors during the CPT; however, the relation was not specific to 1 type of problem behavior. The results of this study indicate that the pattern of errors on the CPT in preschool samples is complex and may be determined by multiple behavioral factors. These findings have implications for the interpretation of CPT performance in young children. (author abstract)
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Reports & Papers
United States
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