Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 105–114 | Cite as

Psychostimulant medication and perceived intensity in hyperactive children

  • Barbara Henker
  • Laurie Astor-Dubin
  • James W. Varni


Adult ratings of children's activity, based on impressionistic scales, are good indicators of psychostimulant medication effects. These ratings seldom correlate with objective indicators, however, and their behavioral referents are poorly understood. Two separate studies tested the hypothesis that intensity of child behavior, as perceived by others, would differentiate medicated and unmedicated states. College student subjects assessed randomized videotaped segments of children's behaviors. The perceived intensity of hyperactive children's responses decreased with medication, while there were no medicationrelated changes in either gross motor locomotion or off-task behaviors. In a test for observer sensitization or expectancy, the results for subjects who were looking for medication effects did not differ from those for uninformed subjects.


College Student Adult Rating Child Behavior Medication Effect Separate Study 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Henker
    • 1
  • Laurie Astor-Dubin
    • 1
  • James W. Varni
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos Angeles
  2. 2.Orthopaedic Hospital and University of Southern CaliforniaUSA

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