The Effects of Stimulant Medication on the Online Story Narrations of Children with ADHD

Karen J. Derefinko, Ursula L. Bailey, Richard Milich, Elizabeth P. Lorch, Elizabeth Riley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The current study investigated the inclusion of goal-based story events in the online story narrations of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as compared with their peers, and explored the effect of stimulant medication on the narrations in children with ADHD. Children completed a narration task on two separate occasions. Children with ADHD (n = 17) completed one narration on medication and the other one on placebo. Results indicated that narrations of comparison children (n = 25) were significantly more likely than narrations of children with ADHD to include the story’s positive outcome, completion of the story’s overall goal, and specific attempts linked to the goal. Children with ADHD included a larger total number of clauses in their narrations when on stimulant medication than when on placebo, but medication showed no significant effects for any other variables. Results indicate that stimulant medication may not be effective at reducing goal-based story comprehension deficits in children with ADHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-182
Number of pages12
JournalSchool Mental Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health Grant MH47386 and the National Institute on Drug Abuse grant DA 05312.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2009, Springer Science + Business Media, LLC.


  • ADHD
  • Goal structure
  • Medication
  • Story comprehension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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