May 1984

Does Behavior Therapy Normalize the Classroom Behavior of Hyperactive Children?

Author Affiliations

From Long Island Jewish—Hillside Medical Center, Glen Oaks, NY (Dr Abikoff), and New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York (Dr Gittelman).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1984;41(5):449-454. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1984.01790160035003

• This study evaluated the effectiveness of eight weeks of intensive behavioral treatment in normalizing the classroom behavior of 28 children with attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity (ADDH). Using blind classroom observers, treatment efficacy was examined for full normalization, partial normalization, and the rate of hyperactive children classified as being like normals. Evidence for normalization was scarce. With treatment, there was no significant change in the percentage of hyperactive children classified as normal. Some normalization gains were found at midtreatment but were not sustained. Attention, activity, and impulsivity, the primary features of ADDH, were not normalized. Aggression, however, was consistently and fully normalized. The modification of aggression does not appear to remedy hyperactive behaviors. The clinical meaningfulness of treatment was minimal; the hyperactive children remained deviant in many aspects of classroom conduct.