Methylphenidate-Related Improvements in Math Performance Cannot Be Explained by Better Cognitive Functioning or Higher Academic Motivation: Evidence From a Randomized Controlled Trial.

J Atten Disord 2017 Jun 1:1087054717713640. Epub 2017 Jun 1.

1 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Objective: This study investigated whether improvements in working memory, reaction time, lapses of attention, interference control, academic motivation, and perceived competence mediated effects of methylphenidate on math performance.

Method: Sixty-three children (ADHD diagnosis; methylphenidate treatment; age 8-13; IQ > 70) were randomly allocated to a 7-day methylphenidate or placebo treatment in this double-blind placebo-controlled crossover study and compared with 67 controls. Data were collected at schools and analyzed using mixed-model analysis. Methylphenidate was hypothesized to improve all measures; all measures were evaluated as potential mediators of methylphenidate-related math improvements.

Results: Controls mostly outperformed the ADHD group. Methylphenidate did not affect measures of cognitive functioning ( p = .082-.641) or academic motivation ( p = .199-.865). Methylphenidate improved parent ratings of their child's self-perceived competence ( p < .01), which mediated methylphenidate efficacy on math productivity.

Conclusion: These results question the necessity of improvements in specific cognitive and motivational deficits associated with ADHD for medication-related academic improvement. They also stimulate further study of perceived competence as a mediator.

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Source
http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1087054717713640
Publisher Site
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1087054717713640DOI Listing
June 2017
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