The dynamic, multidimensional nature of executive function (EF), thought to be characteristically impaired in those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), has been challenging to operationalize and assess in a clinical setting [Barkley, R. A. (1997). ADHD and the nature of self-control. New York: Guilford Press.]. Gioia, Isquith, Guy, and Kenworthy [Gioia, G. A., Isquith, P. K., Guy, S. C., & Kenworthy, L. (2000) Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.] developed the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) to address these concerns. In order to provide concurrent validity information on the BRIEF, parents of 76 children (ADHD=18; Tourette syndrome (TS) = 21; TS + ADHD = 17; controls = 20) completed the BRIEF, additional behavior rating scales and interviews, measures of psychoeducational (PE) competence, and performance-based measures of EF. Both ADHD and TS + ADHD groups were rated as more impaired (P<.0001) than the other groups on the five primary BRIEF indices. BRIEF index scores showed no significant correlation with performance-based EF or PE measures, with the exception of math achievement; however, the BRIEF showed a strong relationship with interviews and other parent rating measures of behaviors seen in ADHD. Future attempts to validate the BRIEF should focus on differences within subtypes of ADHD (e.g., inattentive, combined subtypes), and separating ADHD from other clinical groups in which EF is reported to be a problem.

Author notes

A portion of this research was presented at the 28th Annual Meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society in Denver, CO, on February 10, 2000.