Effects of Methylphenidate on the Persistence of ADHD Boys Following Failure Experience


We examined the effects of methylphenidate on the task persistence of 21 boys with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), after they had been exposed to both solvable and insolvable problems. The boys attempted to solve 10 different find-a-word puzzles on each of 4 days, involving the crossing of medication (placebo vs. 0.3 mg/kg) and prior task difficulty (solvable vs. insolvable). The results revealed that medication prevented the decrement in performance following the insolvable problems that was evident with the placebo days. In addition, on medication compared with placebo, the boys were more likely to make external attributions for failure and internal attributions for success. The results are discussed in terms of the impact of medication on ADHD boys'' performance as medicated by cognitivemotivational state mechanisms.

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This study was undertaken in the 1989 Summer Treatment Program conducted at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.

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