Published:  2021-10-01

Which Child Will Benefit From a Behavioral Intervention for ADHD? A Pilot Study to Predict Intervention Efficacy From Individual Reward Sensitivity

Authors:  Myrte J. M. van Langen, Branko M. van Hulst, Miriam Douma, Maarten Steffers, Nicolle M. H. van de Wiel, Els van den Ban, Sarah Durston, Patrick de Zeeuw


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Objective: This article aims to assess whether individual differences in reward sensitivity can be used to predict which children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) will benefit most from behavioral interventions that include reinforcement. Methods: A 12-week behavioral intervention was offered to 21 children with ADHD and their parents. Reward sensitivity was assessed prior to the intervention using a combination of psychological and physiological measures. ADHD symptoms were assessed pre- and posttreatment using the Strengths and Weaknesses of ADHD and Normal behavior (SWAN) rating scale. Results: Lower scores on one of the questionnaire scales were associated with greater pre/posttreatment differences in ADHD symptoms. Conclusion: We found that pre/posttreatment change was associated with one measure of parent-rated reward sensitivity. Children with low impulsive negative behavior toward gaining reward improved most during treatment. This result suggests that aspects of reward-related behaviors in ADHD may be useful to predict the effectiveness of treatment.