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Do Stimulants Improve Self-Esteem in Children with ADHD and Peer Problems


The self-esteem of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been shown to be low. The effects of stimulant medication upon their self-esteem have not been systematically studied. The present study employed a reliable self-report instrument to measure the self-esteem of children with ADHD medicated with stimulants vs. those who were unmedicated. Results showed that stimulants were associated with significantly higher self-esteem. Children with ADHD prescribed stimulants reported feeling more intelligent and more popular than unmedicated children with ADHD. Children with ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) prescribed stimulants reported feeling better behaved. Significant correlations indicated that higher doses were associated with higher self-esteem. The present results suggest a need for a well-controlled study to determine if stimulants were responsible for the observed differences in self-esteem.

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