Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Thomas Diebold

Abstract

This study was an investigation of the effectiveness of treatment approaches for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) examined through social, behavioral, and academic performances. Guided by Barkley's unifying theory of ADHD, a static-group comparison design was used to compare students receiving pharmacological treatment, psychosocial therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and a pharmacological-therapy combination. Archival data was obtained on middle and high school students diagnosed with ADHD (ages 11-18, N = 103). Data included GPA; number of disciplinary referrals; and Behavior Assessment System for Childrenâ??Teacher Rating Scale (BASC-2 TRS) scores of externalizing behavior (e.g., defiance, aggression), internalizing behavior (e.g., anxiety, depression), general school problems (e.g., attention, study skills), behavioral symptoms (e.g., social skills, leadership), and adaptive skills (e.g., understanding emotions and social cues). None of the BASC-2 TRS subscale scores differed between groups except for internalizing behaviors. The pharmacological-therapy combination group had lower internalizing behavior scores than the pharmacological-only group and the cognitive behavioral therapy group. The pharmacological-therapy combination group also had fewer disciplinary referrals than the pharmacological-only group and the cognitive behavioral therapy group. GPA did not differ by group, but it was inversely related to number of referrals. Because, overall, across the 7 outcome comparisons, no single group definitively emerged as highest performing, implications for practice and positive social change are that selection of ADHD treatment type may be best informed by physician and parent preference and determination of child's need and receptivity.

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