Vanderbilt ADHD Diagnostic Rating Scale (VADRS)

The Vanderbilt ADHD Diagnostic Rating Scale (VADRS) is an assessment tool specifically designed to evaluate symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children and adolescents. Rooted in the criteria established by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), this scale serves a critical role in both clinical and research settings for the identification and understanding of ADHD behaviors. The scale is distinguished by its comprehensive approach, incorporating inputs from both parents and teachers to provide a multifaceted view of the child's behavior across different environments.

Structured into two main parts, the Vanderbilt Scale assesses core ADHD symptoms, including inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, as well as additional domains relevant to childhood behavior disorders such as oppositional-defiant behavior, conduct disorder, and anxiety/depression. This broad scope allows for a thorough evaluation of the child's symptoms in relation to ADHD and co-occurring conditions, facilitating a more nuanced diagnostic process.

The Vanderbilt ADHD Diagnostic Rating Scale's emphasis on multi-informant input enhances its diagnostic accuracy, enabling healthcare professionals to make informed decisions regarding diagnosis and treatment planning. Its structured format and alignment with DSM-IV criteria contribute to its utility as a reliable tool for identifying ADHD and associated behavioral issues in pediatric populations.

Consider the context of what is appropriate for the age of your child. How would you rate your child’s behaviors in the following areas over the past 6 months:

  Never Occasionally Often Very Often
1. Does not pay attention to details or makes careless mistakes with, for example, homework
2. Has difficulty keeping attention to what needs to be done
3. Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
4. Does not follow through when given directions and fails to finish activities (not due to refusal or failure to understand)
5. Has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
6. Avoids, dislikes, or does not want to start tasks that require ongoing mental effort
7. Loses things necessary for tasks or activities (toys, assignments, pencils, or books)
8. Is easily distracted by noises or other stimuli
9. Is forgetful in daily activities
10. Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
11. Leaves seat when remaining seated is expected
12. Runs about or climbs too much when remaining seated is expected
13. Has difficulty playing or beginning quiet play activities
14. Is “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”
15. Talks too much
16. Blurts out answers before questions have been completed
17. Has difficulty waiting his or her turn
18. Interrupts or intrudes in on others’ conversations and/or activities
19. Argues with adults
20. Loses temper
21. Actively defies or refuses to go along with adults’ requests or rules
22. Deliberately annoys people
23. Blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehaviors
24. Is touchy or easily annoyed by others
25. Is angry or resentful
26. Is spiteful and wants to get even
27. Bullies, threatens, or intimidates others
28. Starts physical fights
29. Lies to get out of trouble or to avoid obligations (i.e.,“cons” others)
30. Is truant from school (skips school) without permission
31. Is physically cruel to people
32. Has stolen things that have value
33. Deliberately destroys others’ property
34. Has used a weapon that can cause serious harm (bat, knife, brick, gun)
35. Is physically cruel to animals
36. Has deliberately set fires to cause damage
37. Has broken into someone else’s home, business, or car
38. Has stayed out at night without permission
39. Has run away from home overnight
40. Has forced someone into sexual activity
41. Is fearful, anxious, or worried
42. Is afraid to try new things for fear of making mistakes
43. Feels worthless or inferior
44. Blames self for problems, feels guilty
45. Feels lonely, unwanted, or unloved; complains that “no one loves him or her”
46. Is sad, unhappy, or depressed
47. Is self-conscious or easily embarrassed
  Excellent Above Average Average Somewhat of a Problem Problematic
48. Overall school performance
49. Reading
50. Writing
51. Mathematics
52. Relationship with parents
53. Relationship with siblings
54. Relationship with peers
55. Participation in organized activities
  1. M Wolraich, W Lambert, M Doffing, L Bickman, T Simmons, K Worley. Psychometric Properties of the Vanderbilt ADHD Diagnostic Parent Rating Scale in a Referred Population. Journal of Pediatric Psychology. 28(8): 559-568 (2003).