Multimodal treatment of ADHD in the MTA: an alternative outcome analysis

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2001 Feb;40(2):159-67. doi: 10.1097/00004583-200102000-00010.


Objective: To conduct a post hoc investigation of the utility of a single composite measure of treatment outcome for the NIMH Collaborative Multisite Multimodal Treatment Study of Children With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (MTA) at 14 months postbaseline.

Background: Examination of multiple measures one at a time in the main MTA intent-to-treat outcome analyses failed to detect a statistically significant advantage of combined treatment (Comb) over medication management (MedMgt). A measure that increases power and precision using a single outcome score may be a useful alternative to multiple outcome measures.

Method: Factor analysis of baseline scores yielded two "source factors" (parent and teacher) and one "instrument factor" (parent-child interactions). A composite score was created from the average of standardized parent and teacher measures.

Results: The composite was internally consistent (alpha = .83), reliable (test-retest over 3 months = 0.86), and correlated 0.61 with clinician global judgments. In an intent-to-treat analysis, Comb was statistically significantly better than all other treatments, with effect sizes ranging from small (0.28) versus MedMgt, to moderately large (0.70) versus a community comparison group.

Conclusions: A composite of ADHD variables may be an important tool in future treatment trials with ADHD and may avoid some of the statistical limitations of multiple measures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / therapy*
  • Child
  • Combined Modality Therapy*
  • Effect Modifier, Epidemiologic*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Humans
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Treatment Outcome