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

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Abstract

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.

LanguageEnglish
Pages1087054717713640
JournalJournal of Attention Disorders
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jun 2017

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Methylphenidate
Randomized Controlled Trials
Mental Competency
Motivation
Placebos
Short-Term Memory
Cross-Over Studies
Reaction Time
Efficiency
Therapeutics

Keywords

  • Journal Article

Cite this

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title = "Methylphenidate-Related Improvements in Math Performance Cannot Be Explained by Better Cognitive Functioning or Higher Academic Motivation: Evidence From a Randomized Controlled Trial",
abstract = "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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author = "Kortekaas-Rijlaarsdam, {Anne Fleur} and Marjolein Luman and Edmund Sonuga-Barke and Pierre Bet and Jaap Oosterlaan",
year = "2017",
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language = "English",
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T1 - Methylphenidate-Related Improvements in Math Performance Cannot Be Explained by Better Cognitive Functioning or Higher Academic Motivation

T2 - Journal of Attention Disorders

AU - Kortekaas-Rijlaarsdam, Anne Fleur

AU - Luman, Marjolein

AU - Sonuga-Barke, Edmund

AU - Bet, Pierre

AU - Oosterlaan, Jaap

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N2 - 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.

AB - 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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