Attributions and Perception of Methylphenidate Effects in Adolescents With ADHD

J Atten Disord. 2017 Jan;21(2):129-136. doi: 10.1177/1087054713493320. Epub 2016 Jul 28.


Objective: Although a number of studies demonstrate that children with ADHD do not attribute their behavior to taking medication, it remains unstudied whether adolescents, who have a longer history of taking medication for ADHD, show performance attributions to medication.

Method: A sample of 46 adolescents completed daily attributions for success or failure as a part of their participation in a summer treatment program with a double-blind, placebo-controlled assessment of methylphenidate.

Results: Results demonstrated that adolescents with ADHD did not reliably discern active medication from placebo, rarely attributed their performance to the pill, and showed no differences in attributional style as a function of medication status.

Conclusion: These data indicate that adolescents with ADHD may possess inaccurate beliefs about the effect of stimulant medication on their behavior.

Keywords: ADHD; adolescence; stimulant medication treatment.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Achievement
  • Adolescent
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / administration & dosage*
  • Child
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methylphenidate / administration & dosage*
  • Social Perception


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Methylphenidate