ADHD Symptoms in Adolescents' Everyday Life: Fluctuations and Symptom Structure Within and Between Individuals

Johanna Schmid* (Corresponding Author), Gertraud Stadler, Judith Dirk, Christiane Fiege, Caterina Gawrilow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: This study investigated whether self-reported ADHD symptoms fluctuate substantially within adolescents from day to day, and examined the underlying symptom factor structure on a within- and between-person level.

METHOD: Adolescents (N = 166) rated their ADHD symptoms over the phone on eight consecutive evenings (total ratings: n = 1,264).

RESULTS: ADHD symptoms showed substantial fluctuations within adolescents from day to day, as indicated by within-person standard deviations and intraclass correlation coefficients. Both a two-level factor model with three correlated factors (inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity) and a two-level bifactor model with a general ADHD symptom factor and a specific inattention factor provided acceptable to good accounts of the structure underlying daily ADHD symptom ratings on the between- and the within-person level.

CONCLUSION: The study demonstrates that adolescents' ADHD symptoms fluctuate from day to day and highlights the need for intensive diagnostic processes with repeated symptom assessments and interventions that address symptom fluctuations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1169-1180
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of attention disorders
Issue number8
Early online date18 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was supported by the Center for Individual Development and Adaptive Education of Children at Risk (IDeA), funded by the Federal State Government of Hessen (LOEWE initiative), and by the Robert Bosch Foundation, Stuttgart, Germany


  • ADHD
  • factor structure
  • Intensive longitudinal study
  • ADHD symptoms
  • intensive longitudinal study


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