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J Consult Clin Psychol. 2002 Apr;70(2):320-35.

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

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Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Buffalo, 14214-3093, USA.


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, balanced-placebo 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' 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 individual-difference factors.

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