Assessing medication effects in the MTA study using neuropsychological outcomes

Jeffery N. Epstein, C. Keith Conners, Aaron S. Hervey, Simon T. Tonev, L. Eugene Arnold, Howard B. Abikoff, Glen Elliott, Laurence L. Greenhill, Lily Hechtman, Kimberly Hoagwood, Stephen P. Hinshaw, Betsy Hoza, Peter S. Jensen, John S. March, Jeffrey H. Newcorn, William E. Pelham, Joanne B. Severe, James M. Swanson, Karen Wells, Benedetto VitielloTimothy Wigal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Background: While studies have increasingly investigated deficits in reaction time (RT) and RT variabilityin children with attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), few studies have examined the effects of stimulant medication on these important neuropsychological outcome measures. Methods: 316 children who participated in the Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD (MTA) completed the Conners' Continuous Performance Test (CPT) at the 24-month assessment point. Outcome measures included standard CPT outcomes (e.g., errors of commission, mean hit reaction time (RT)) and RT indicators derived from an Ex-Gaussian distributional model (i.e., mu, sigma, and tau). Results: Analyses revealed significant effects of medication across all neuropsychological outcome measures. Results on the Ex-Gaussian outcome measures revealed that stimulant medication slows RT and reduces RT variability. Conclusions: This demonstrates the importance of including analytic strategies that can accurately model the actual distributional pattern, including the positive skew. Further, the results of the study relate to several theoretical models of ADHD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)446-456
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Distributions
  • Go/no-go test
  • Neuropsychology
  • Pharmacology
  • Reaction time
  • Stimulants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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