Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Sebastian Striefel


The cognitive and affective characteristics and responses to stimulant medication of children who were diagnosed as having attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (AD-HD) or undifferentiated-attention deficit disorder (UADD) were investigated using a pretest-posttest experimental design. Nineteen AD-HD and 17 UADD children were compared using unpaired t-tests, prior to initiation of stimulant medication, on measures of intellectual functioning, impulsivity, problem behavior, and self-reported depression and self-esteem. Children from both the AD-HD (n = 12) and UADD (n = 12) groups were then compared before and after a 3-month trial of stimulant medication on measures of impulsivity, problem behavior, and self-reported depression and self-esteem using repeated measures analyses of variance.

No significant differences were found between groups in cognitive ability, impulsivity, depression, self-esteem, anxiety, peer relationships, or social withdrawal. AD-HD children were found to exhibit more hyperactive, aggressive, and delinquent problem behavior. Significant improvement was found in both groups in self-reported depression and self-esteem following a trial of stimulant medication. A trial of stimulant medication was found to reduce hyperactive problem behavior in AD-HD children. Stimulant medication had a beneficial effect on peer relationships and aggressive problem behavior in UADD children but did not produce similar positive effects in AD-HD children. These results are discussed as in relationship to the issue of whether AD-HD and UADD are separate syndromes and to the previous literature regarding attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity (ADD/H) and attention deficit disorder without hyperactivity (ADD/WO). Ramifications regarding appropriate treatment are also discussed.



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