Attention Deficit Disorder and Methylphenidate: A Multilevel Analysis of Dose-Response Effects on Children's Impulsivity Across Settings

Document Type


Date of Original Version



The present investigation examined the effects of methylphenidate on impulsivity in children with Attention Deficit Disorder/Hyperactivity (ADDH) in school and on their Matching Familiar Figures Test (MFFT) performance in a clinic setting. Twenty-two children with ADDH between 6 and 10 years of age participated in a double-blind, placebo-control, within-subject (crossover) design in which each child received four doses of methylphenidate (5, 10, 15, 20 mg) and a placebo in a randomly assigned, counterbalanced sequence. A one-way multivariate analysis of variance with repeated measures demonstrated a highly significant effect on the five dependent measures. A series of one-way analyses of variance with repeated measures showed significant overall medication effects on MFFT performance (error and latency), teacher ratings of children's self-control, on-task behavior, and academic efficiency scores. With the exception of MFFT latency, all measures were highly sensitive to between-dose differences. Trend analyses revealed a significant linear relationship between improvement on the clinic and classroom measures and increasing dose. Intermediate and molecular level analyses were conducted to examine the idiosyncratic and task-specific behavior exhibited across doses, as well as the relative contribution of gross body weight to drug responsiveness. The implications of these results for psychopharmacological research and clinical practice are discussed. © 1988, The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. All rights reserved.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry