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

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1754-1764
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Attention Disorders
Issue number12
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • behavioral interventions
  • reward processing
  • reward sensitivity

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