WISC profiles in child psychiatric diagnosis: Sense or nonsense?

Jan Rispens, Hanna Swaab, Edwin J.C.G. Van Den Oord, Peggy Cohen-Kettenis, Herman Van Engeland, Tom Van Yperen

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Objective: WISC factor structure, the specificity of WISC factors, and diagnostic correlates of WISC profiles were studied to investigate the contribution of WISC profile analysis to child psychiatric diagnosis. Method: The fit of various factor models was tested and differences between various clinical groups regarding three WISC patterns were studied, using the WISC- RN (the Dutch version of the WISC-R) scores of a grout of 465 Dutch children (mean age 11.2 years) referred to a psychiatric clinic. Results: The traditional factor models were replicated in this study. However, most of the variance in the factors could be explained by an underlying factor, 'general intelligence,' suggesting that WISC factors measure specific cognitive abilities only to a limited degree. Another important finding is that the various DSM-III-R and Child Behavior Checklist diagnoses could not be distinguished on the basis of WISC profiles. Conclusion: The data demonstrate that the relationship between WISC factors and specific cognitive abilities and neuropsychological functions needs further clarification in order to improve the validity of the traditional use of WISC profiles as a source of diagnostic information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1587-1594
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997


  • Differential diagnosis
  • Intellectual assessment
  • WISC profiles

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