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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Gary N. Howells

First Committee Member

Roseann Hannon

Second Committee Member

Robert B. Schorr


The effects of sertraline and methylphenidate on attention and behavior in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder were compared. Thirty-two children were randomly assigned to treatment with methylphenidate 20 mg per day, sertraline 50 mg per day, or a waiting list control group. Baseline testing included the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Children's Depression Inventory, Conners Parent and Teacher Rating Scales (CPRS and CTRS), Gordon Diagnostic System (GDS), and the Test of Variables of Attention (TOV A). After at least 2 weeks of medication the CPRS, CTRS, GDS, and TOVA were repeated. Analyses ofthe data using repeated measures ANOVAs revealed no significant main effects of treatment group on any of the primary outcome variables. However, several significant interaction effects of treatment group and trial period were noted. Children given methylphenidate showed significant improvement on measures of both attention and impulsivity/hyperactivity. Children in the sertraline group improved significantly on subscale 3 ofthe CPRS which measures impulsivity/hyperactivity, and showed a trend toward improvement in attention. Children in the control group did not improve significantly on measures of attention or impulsivity/hyperactivity. Both medications were well tolerated. These results suggest that methylphenidate is a more effective medication for ADHD than sertraline. However, the trend toward improvement with sertraline suggests that further clinical trials are warranted.



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