The third factor of the WISC-III: It's (probably) not freedom from distractibility

Mark A. Reinecke*, Dean W. Beebe, Mark A. Stein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Objective: This study examined the ecological validity, construct validity, and diagnostic utility of the third factor of the WISC-III, heuristically labeled 'Freedom From Distractibility' (FFD). Method: A sample of 200 children, aged 6 to 11 years, with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) completed the WISC-III, the Wide Range Achievement Test- Revised, and the Test of Variables of Attention. Objective parent and teacher report measures of attention and hyperactivity were completed. Results: Mean FFD scores were significantly lower than other WISC-III factor scores. The diagnostic utility of FFD is limited, however, as the majority of these children did not show a significant relative weakness on this index. Correlational analyses failed to support the concurrent, ecological, or construct validity of the FFD. FFD scores were not correlated with a measure of sustained visual attention. Findings suggest that among children with ADHD, a low FFD score may be associated with the presence of a learning disability or poor academic performance. This finding was maintained after level of general intelligence was statistically controlled. Conclusions: Clinicians and researchers should not view FFD as a reliable or valid index of attention or as a diagnostic screening measure for identifying children with ADHD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)322-328
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999


  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Factor III
  • Freedom From Distractibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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