Vanderbilt ADHD Diagnostic Parent Rating Scale (VADPRS)

The Vanderbilt ADHD Diagnostic Parent Rating Scale (VADPRS) is a widely used tool for assessing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children, developed by Mark L. Wolraich and colleagues. This comprehensive tool aids in the evaluation and diagnosis of ADHD in the pediatric population.

VADPRS Development and Background

The VADPRS was developed as part of a broader initiative to provide more effective diagnostic criteria and treatment for ADHD. It was designed to be used by healthcare professionals in conjunction with observations and other diagnostic tools. The scale was developed through rigorous testing and validation processes, ensuring its reliability and validity in clinical settings.

Purpose and Usage

The primary purpose of the VADPRS is to assist healthcare providers in diagnosing ADHD in children and adolescents. It is a parent-report rating scale that includes 55 items. These items are divided into two parts: the first part assesses ADHD symptoms based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) criteria, and the second part screens for other disorders, such as conduct disorder, anxiety, and depression.


The VADPRS is typically administered in a clinical setting. Parents are asked to rate their child’s behavior over the past six months. The scale uses a Likert-type format, ranging from “Never” to “Always,” to measure the frequency of specific behaviors. The responses are then used to determine the likelihood of ADHD or other co-existing conditions.

Interpretation of Scores

The VADPRS scores are interpreted by healthcare professionals. Scores are based on the number and frequency of symptoms, as well as their impact on the child’s daily functioning. A high score in the ADHD-specific section may indicate the presence of ADHD, but it is not a definitive diagnosis on its own. The scale also helps identify the subtype of ADHD: predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, or combined.

Follow-Up after a High Score

If a child scores within the ADHD range on the VADPRS, the next step typically involves a comprehensive adhd evaluation by a healthcare professional. This evaluation may include a detailed medical history, physical examination, interviews, and possibly observations in different settings (like school and home). The professional will also consider other factors, such as the child’s age, developmental level, and any co-existing conditions.

Importance in ADHD Diagnosis

The VADPRS is an important tool in the diagnosis of ADHD, as it provides a standardized method for assessing symptoms. It allows for the systematic evaluation of behaviors across different settings and times. Moreover, the scale can be used to monitor the progress and effectiveness of treatment over time.


While the VADPRS is a valuable tool, it is not without limitations. It relies on parent reporting, which can be subjective. Additionally, the scale does not replace a full diagnostic evaluation and should be used in conjunction with other diagnostic methods.

The Vanderbilt ADHD Diagnostic Parent Rating Scale is a vital instrument in the assessment of ADHD in children. Developed through rigorous research, it offers a standardized approach for healthcare professionals to evaluate ADHD symptoms and related disorders. While it is a powerful screening tool, it is most effective when used as part of a comprehensive diagnostic process.


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