Attributions in adolescents medicated for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

J. L. Ohan, C. Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


Forty-three adolescents who were being prescribed stimulant medication for symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder were read vignettes that described adolescents being compliant or noncompliant with parental directives. The 43 adolescents imagined themselves engaging in these behaviors when they had either taken or not taken their medication, and made attributions for each behavior on scales of causal locus, control, stability, and the contributions of taking/not taking a stimulant tablet. No significant effects of medication (presence or absence) or the type of behavior (compliant or noncompliant) were found for locus or stability attributions; however, there was a tendency for the adolescents to see both compliance and noncompliance with their parents' directives as more controllable when they were taking medication than when not. Also, they attributed their behavior more to taking a stimulant tablet when asked about compliance with parental directives compared to noncompliance, and conversely, attributed their noncompliance with parent directives more to not having taken a stimulant tablet compared to compliance. The adolescents were also asked to rate general belief statements about their medication. In general, they did not see medication as responsible for their good behavior, but rather saw it as helping them gain control over their own behavior. They responded with neither agreement nor disagreement to statements about personality changes on medication. The results suggest that measuring attributions and beliefs about medication using multiple methods is important, as adolescents' attributions given in response to behavior vignettes and their general belief statements were not related.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-60
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Attention Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes

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