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Document Type

Article

Abstract

This study explores concurrent and criterion validity of a Continuous Performance Test, the Immediate and Delayed Memory Tasks (IMT/DMT). Concurrent validity was examined through comparison with collateral measures of impulsivity, while criterion validity was assessed by comparison of groups with differing levels of impulsive behavior, those with and without disruptive behavior disorders (DBD). DBDs in the DSM-IV include conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder, which are both largely characterized by impulsive behaviors. We compared group performance on the IMT/DMT and several collateral measures of impulsivity between adolescent controls (n = 22) and psychiatric inpatients with a DBD diagnosis (n = 22). Data collected indicated that (1) DBD patients emitted more commission errors; (2) commission errors, but not correct detections, were significantly correlated with collateral measures of impulsivity, and (3) in posthoc comparisons, those DBD patients with histories of physical fighting emitted the greatest number of commission errors, followed by DBD nonfighters, and then controls. Similar group performance differences were observed for collateral impulsivity measures. This study supports the use of commission error rates on the Immediate and Delayed Memory Tasks as a behavioral measure of impulsivity. With further development, objective measures like these may prove useful in clinical assessment procedures and in monitoring treatment outcome.

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