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October 1985

Hyperactive Children Treated With StimulantsIs Cognitive Training a Useful Adjunct?

Author Affiliations

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

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1985;42(10):953-961. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1985.01790330033004

• We evaluated whether, among hyperactive children who required maintenance stimulant treatment, cognitive training (1) enhanced academic performance; (2) improved the functioning of youngsters who had only a partial behavioral response to medication; (3) facilitated withdrawal of stimulant treatment; and (4) enhanced maintenance effects of academic gains following termination of stimulants. A 16-week cognitive training program that emphasized reflective problem-solving strategies and social problem-solving skills was compared with an attention control treatment and with no training. There was virtually no evidence of efficacy of cognitive training. No significant treatment effects were obtained on academic, behavioral, and cognitive measures. Cognitive training did not improve behavior among children with residual problems, nor did it facilitate the withdrawal of medication. With placebo substitution, the overwhelming majority of children required remedication, regardless of previous exposure to cognitive training.