Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Scott Kollins

Second Advisor

Dr. Wayne Fuqua

Third Advisor

Dr. Lisa Baker

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed childhood psychiatric disorder in the United States. Approximately 90% of children receiving pharmacological treatment for ADHD receive the stimulant methylphenidate (MPH). MPH is associated with positive effects across many behavioral domains, yet the mechanisms through which it exerts clinical effects have not been conclusively determined. MPH produces reinforcing and subjective effects, however it is not understood how these functions relate to clinical effects. The present study examined the relationship among several stimulus functions and the clinical effects of MPH. Participants were 5 children (aged 10-14) diagnosed with ADHD who were currently receiving MPH. The reinforcing effects of MPH were assessed using a double-blind choice procedure. Subjective effects were measured using self-report questionnaires. Clinical effects were measured using direct observations and a behavioral rating form. Results indicated that MPH functioned as a reinforcer in 3 of the 5 participants. Out of 30 total choices across participants (6 choices each), MPH was chosen 18 times (60%), placebo and neither were both selected 6 times (20%). MPH also produced variable patterns of participant-rated effects across subjects.

Included in

Psychology Commons