childhood hyperactivity

Childhood hyperactivity is a condition that is thought to affect between 5% and 7% of all children of school age. Despite widespread media coverage, the scientific mechanisms behind hyperactivity remain poorly understood. And this lack of understanding begins at the diagnostic stage: how do you differentiate between a disruptive child and a hyperactive child? Improving screening for the disorder lies at the heart of the collaborative project run by Dr Michel Bader (Lausanne), Dr Diane Purper-Ouakil (Paris) and Prof. Manuel Bouvard (Bordeaux). The Urgo Foundation is supporting them in their work.

How is hyperactivity currently diagnosed?

In the diagnostic process relating to attention deficit with or without hyperactivity (ADD/HD), international guidelines recommend a comprehensive clinical investigation, supported by the use of reference questionnaires, such as the Conners' Parent Rating Scales (CPRS).

A brief history

The extremely popular CPRS was introduced in the 1960s. The questionnaire was initially drawn up to identify a broad range of behavioural disorders (ie, sleep, food and relational disorders). In 1970, K. Conners conducted a series of systematic parental interviews, after which he published a questionnaire with 93 items (the CPRS) used for psychopharmacological studies of hyperkinetic children. And lastly, a questionnaire for teachers was published with 39 items called the Conners’ Teacher Rating Scale (CTRS). These questionnaires have been modified on a number of occasions (partly to reflect changes in the DSM-IV symptom scales) and short versions appeared up until 1997.

Deficiencies to overcome 

• Unfortunately, a number of errors have been documented in the way these questionnaires have been used in research, due in part to the numerous versions available and the fact that they have been used in inappropriate contexts. Hence it remains difficult to interpret the literature, which can be confusing to clinical practitioners and researchers alike.

• The measurement characteristics of these questionnaires (sensitivity, stability and validity) are often poorly understood by professionals (Barkley, 1991).

• No French version of the CPRS has been validated in this form, despite its widespread use in both clinics and research.

Study objectives  

The study objectives are to draw up a French-language questionnaire based on the Conners questionnaire, and then validate it in order to:

• Improve the quality of diagnostic processes for children presenting an ADD/HD

• Make it possible to conduct a quality assessment of the evolution of these disorders during development and within the context of therapeutic management

• Improve French language research tools in the field of ADD/HD.