Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




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The hyperactive disorder of childhood and the enumeration of its features were described in two papers published in the mid-1950's, by Laufer and his colleagues (Laufer, 1957; Laufer, Denhoff & Solomons, 1956). It was a list that has since become familiar; short attention span, impulsivity, irritability, low frustration tolerance, poor academic achievement, and visual-motor difficulties. Like many who have since searched for definers of the syndrome, Laufer and his colleagues remarked upon the perplexing variability displayed by these children, and they noted that no single symptom could be considered diagnostic. They described the development of "secondary psychological difficulties" due to the irritating effect of the child's symptoms on parents and teachers. Laufer et al.(1956) issued one of the earliest warning against indiscriminate reliance on medication. They added a cautionary note, which would be resounded and elaboration by Whalen and Henker (1976), about the attributional effects of medication:

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