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Group-Based Behavioral Therapy Combined With Stimulant Medication for Treating Children With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Impaired Mood

This study has been completed.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Florida International University Identifier:
First received: March 7, 2008
Last updated: April 12, 2013
Last verified: April 2013
This study will evaluate the effectiveness of an integrative group psychosocial therapy combined with stimulant medication in treating children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder plus impairments in mood.

Condition Intervention
Attention Deficit Disorder With Hyperactivity Behavioral: Group-based behavior therapy Drug: Stimulant medication therapy Behavioral: Community-based psychosocial treatment

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: A Novel Multimodal Intervention for Children With ADHD and Impaired Mood

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Florida International University:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Mood Severity Index Measures Severity of Mood Symptoms (MSI).Range of 0-116; Clinicians Give to Parents and Child to Get Composite Score; Higher Scores=Greater Severity; 0-10=no Symptoms, 11-20=Mild Symptoms, 21to 35 =Moderate Symptoms and >35 is Severe [ Time Frame: measured at week 12 (endpoint) ]
    averaged Composite of endpoint ratings from the Children's Depression Rating Scale (CDRS used to measure depressive symptoms) and Young mania rating scale (MRS used to measure manic like symptoms) that has been used before as primary outcome in treatment studies of children with a mixture of affective symptoms (Fristad, et al., 2009). Prior to commencement of data collection, we elected to use it as the primary mood measure for the therapy phase of the trial over the initially selected YMRS as subjects either had to have elevations on the YMRS or CDRS but not necessarily both to be eligible. Hence, some subjects had very low YMRS scores at baseline which is why we chose the MSI over the YMRS.

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) Score [ Time Frame: Measured at weeks 12 (endpoint) ]
    rates manic like symptoms in children; 7 items ranging from 0-4 and 4 items on a 0-8 scale; higher scores indicate more severe symptom severity (min total score=0, max=60). There are no subscales. Symptom severity information is obtained from direct interview of parent and child. It was initially selected as the primary outcome but prior to commencement of data collection the Mood Severity Index (MSI) was chosen instead based on recently published work in a related study (see above).

  • Disruptive Behavior Disorder Scale Score for ADHD Symptoms [ Time Frame: Measured at Week12 (endpoint) ]
    sum of severity rating for all 18 DSM (Diagnostic and Statistics Manual for Mental Disorders) IV ADHD symptoms and two from DSM 3R on a 0 to 3 scale obtained from parent rating; range is from 0 to 60 with higher numbers indicating more severe symptoms

  • Children's Depression Rating Scale-Revised (CDRS-R) Total Score [ Time Frame: Measured at Week 12 (endpoint) ]
    rates 17 items of depression on a severity scale using information obtained from parent and child. Higher numbers indicate more severity symptoms and range is from 17 to 113.

  • Disruptive Behavior Disorder Scale Score for ODD Symptoms [ Time Frame: week 12 (endpoint) ]
    parents rating all DSM symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder on a 0-3 severity scale with higher scores indicating more severe symptoms and range is from 0-27 (8 DSM IV items and I item from DSM 3R)

Enrollment: 68
Study Start Date: March 2009
Study Completion Date: September 2011
Primary Completion Date: June 2011 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Active Comparator: 1
Participants will receive stimulant medication therapy and referrals to community-based psychosocial treatments.
Drug: Stimulant medication therapy
All participants will be stabilized on an FDA-approved stimulant medication for 2 to 6 weeks prior to therapy assignment.
Behavioral: Community-based psychosocial treatment
Participants will receive referrals to community-based psychosocial treatments that will focus on ADHD symptoms and management of aggression.
Experimental: 2
Participants will receive stimulant medication therapy and group-based behavior therapy.
Behavioral: Group-based behavior therapy
Group-based behavior therapy with a parenting class will include 12 weeks of sessions that focus on reducing oppositional and aggressive behaviors. Children will participate in 12 weeks of social skills training integrated with a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) component to target mood symptoms. Parents will learn ways to identify and address their child's mood problems, communicate better with their child, and work with school staff to address academic and behavioral problems.
Drug: Stimulant medication therapy
All participants will be stabilized on an FDA-approved stimulant medication for 2 to 6 weeks prior to therapy assignment.

Detailed Description:

There has been increasing recognition that many children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) exhibit depressive and manic-like symptoms suggestive of major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder (BP). Many children with ADHD plus impairments in mood display symptoms of irritability, affective instability, and reactive aggression, but they typically lack the hallmark symptoms, such as extreme mood cycles and sustained depressed mood, that lead to a BD or MDD diagnosis. Significant debate exists as to whether these children have a true comorbid mood disorder, making treatment of mood symptoms in ADHD children controversial. ADHD is traditionally treated with stimulant medications and/or behavior modification therapy. However, little is known about the safety of stimulants in ADHD children with manic symptoms. Also, no treatments exist that are designed to simultaneously improve both ADHD and mood problems in children. Psychosocial treatments hold particular promise for ADHD children with impairments in mood because they are well-studied pediatric treatments with little risk of worsening mood symptoms. This study will develop an integrative psychosocial treatment that includes aspects of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychoeducational techniques for pediatric and adult mood disorders. The study will then evaluate the effectiveness of the integrative psychosocial treatment, called group behavior therapy, combined with stimulant medication in improving moods and enhancing treatment responses in children with ADHD and impairments in mood.

Participation in the study will last between 5 and 6 months. All eligible participants will begin treatment with stimulant medications for 2 to 6 weeks, or until an optimal medication dosage has been determined. During this medication dosing phase, study staff will collect weekly ratings of the child participant's behavior at home and school, and participants will be seen weekly by study doctors to monitor medication dosage. Upon achieving an optimal dose, child participants will answer questions about their mood and behavior.

Participants who are still exhibiting mood problems will then be assigned randomly to receive 12 weeks of either group behavior therapy or community-based psychosocial treatment, while still continuing on their prescribed medications. Group behavior therapy sessions for child participants will focus on improving mood and ability to maintain friendships, practicing ways to better control emotions, and learning effective problem solving skills. Child participants will also be given weekly homework assignments to practice learned therapy skills. Group behavior therapy sessions for parent participants will teach parents ways to identify and address their child's mood problems, communicate better with their child, and work with school staff to address academic and behavioral problems. Participants assigned to community-based psychosocial treatment will not receive any counseling services as part of the study, but they will be referred to community services.

Every 6 weeks during the therapy phase, all participants will answer repeat questions about their mood and behavior. Six weeks after completing the therapy phase, participants will return for a final follow-up visit, which will include repeat questions, rating of the child participant's mood and symptoms, and meeting with a study doctor to check medications.


Ages Eligible for Study:   7 Years to 11 Years   (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • ADHD combined subtype with evidence of depressive or manic-like symptoms, as assessed by CDRS, YMRS, and Washington University in St. Louis Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia, that persist after stimulant treatment

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Full Scale IQ less than 80
  • Current seizure disorder or history of seizures requiring treatment or other significant neurological problems
  • History of other medical problems for which stimulant treatment may involve considerable risk, including cardiac arrhythmias, hypertension, Tourette's disorder, or history of severe tic exacerbations caused by stimulant exposure (Note: child with uncomplicated tic disorders or a family history of tic disorders will not be excluded as stimulants are well tolerated in a majority of such cases)
  • Meets full criteria for Type I or II bipolar disorder or any child manifesting mood symptoms (manic or depressive), such as significant suicidal ideation or psychotic symptoms that require emergent pharmacological treatment or hospitalization
  • History or concurrent diagnosis of any of the following disorders: pervasive developmental disorder, schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, sexual disorders, organic mental disorder, or eating disorder
  • No longer manifests impairing manic/depressive symptoms after stimulant therapy based on CDRS-R greater than 27 or YMRS greater than 11 with Clinical Global Impressions-Severity 3 or greater
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00632619

United States, Florida
Center for Children and Families at Florida International University
Miami, Florida, United States, 33199
Sponsors and Collaborators
Florida International University
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Principal Investigator: James G. Waxmonsky, MD Florida International University
  More Information

Additional Information:
Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):
Responsible Party: Florida International University Identifier: NCT00632619     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: R34MH080791 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
Study First Received: March 7, 2008
Results First Received: August 29, 2012
Last Updated: April 12, 2013

Keywords provided by Florida International University:
Subthreshold Manic States in Children

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity
Attention Deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders
Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Mental Disorders
Neurologic Manifestations
Nervous System Diseases
Signs and Symptoms
Central Nervous System Stimulants
Physiological Effects of Drugs processed this record on September 19, 2017