ADHD boys' performance and attributions following success and failure: Drug effects and individual differences


In a previous study, Milich, Carlson, Pelham, and Licht (1991) reported that, compared to placebo, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) boys on methylphenidate (MPH) showed greater persistence following exposure to insolvable tasks, and were more likely to attribute success to internal causes and blame failure on external causes. The current study, using the same task, provided evidence for the salutary effects of MPH on the performance and perceptions of ADHD boys following both solvable and insolvable puzzles and found that subjects exposed to insolvable puzzles showed greater persistence on a subsequent generalization task when receiving MPH as compared to placebo. In addition, a measure of attributional style predicted performance on the task, but not attributions for task-performance. Finally, the current study found no differences between placebo and a no pill condition, thus extending the results of Milich et al. (1991) by demonstrating that treatment effects on performance and self-rating measures were directly related to receiving active medication.

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