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Effect of Stimulant Medication on Children with Attention Deficit Disorder: A “Review of Reviews”

  • Author(s): Swanson, JM
  • Mcburnett, K
  • Wigal, T
  • Pfiffner, LJ
  • Lerner, MA
  • Williams, L
  • Christian, DL
  • Tamm, L
  • Willcutt, E
  • Crowley, K
  • Clevenger, W
  • Khouzam, N
  • Woo, C
  • Crinella, FM
  • Fisher, TD
  • et al.
Abstract

The University of California, Irvine ADD Center recently conducted a synthesis of the literature on the use of stimulants with children with attention deficit disorder (ADD), using a unique “review of reviews” methodology. In this article, we compare three reviews from each of three review types (traditional, meta-analytic, general audience) and illustrate how coding variables can highlight sources of divergence. In general, divergent conclusions stemmed from variations in goal rather than from variations in the sources selected to review. Across quantitative reviews, the average effect size for symptomatic improvement (.83) was twice that for benefits on IQ and achievement measures (.35). A summary of what should and should not be expected of the use of stimulants with ADD children, derived from the literature synthesis, is provided. © 1993, Council for Exceptional Children. All rights reserved.

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