Effects of methyphenidate and expectancy on children with ADHD: Behavior, academic performance, and attributions in a summer treatment program and regular classroom settings

William E. Pelham, Betsy Hoza, David R. Pillow, Elizabeth M. Gnagy, Heidi L. Kipp, Andrew R. Greiner, Daniel A. Waschbusch, Sarah T. Trane, Joel Greenhouse, Lara Wolfson, Erin Fitzpatrick
2002 Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology  
Pharmacological and expectancy effects of 0.3 mg/kg methylphenidate on the behavior and attributions of boys with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder were evaluated. In a within-subject, balancedplacebo design, 136 boys received 4 medication-expectancy conditions. Attributions for success and failure on a daily report card were gathered. Assessments took place within the setting of a summer treatment program and were repeated in boys' regular classrooms. Expectancy did not affect the boys'
more » ... behavior; only active medication improved their behavior. Boys attributed their success to their effort and ability and attributed failure to task difficulty and the pill, regardless of medication and expectancy. Results were generally equivalent across the two settings; where there were differences, beneficial effects of medication were more apparent in the school setting. The findings were unaffected by individualdifference factors. Psychostimulant medications have been widely used for children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Beneficial effects of stimulant treatment for these children have been documented in different domains of functioning, including classroom behavior, peer relations, and mother-child interactions (see Swanson, McBurnett, Christian, & Wigal, 1995, for a review). Despite the empirical evidence showing the efficacy of stimulant medication, however, little information exists regarding whether children with ADHD accurately perceive differences in their behavior between drug and placebo states and whether pharmacotherapy affects the ways in which the children explain their behavior. Many concerns have been raised about the causal explanations and motivational states that may result from children's perceptions of and beliefs about medication.
doi:10.1037/0022-006x.70.2.320 pmid:11952190 fatcat:vw4bsvedvjcb5awdfgsg3jw3j4