Central Nervous System Stimulant Use among Elementary School-Aged Children Receiving School-Based Mental Health Services for Conduct Problems
Lapalme M, Temcheff CE, *Boutin S, Déry M. (2018). Central Nervous System Stimulant Use among Elementary School-Aged Children Receiving School-Based Mental Health Services for Conduct Problems. Santé Mentale au Québec. 43(1): 123-143.
Objectives : Elementary school-aged children referred to school-based mental health services for conduct problems are commonly also prescribed central nervous system stimulants (CNSS), since many also suffer from comorbid ADHD. Nevertheless, there exists little information in the extant literature to determine to what degree the prescription of CNSS is associated with the presence of ADHD in these students or if other characteristics contribute to increasing the likelihood of CNSS use. Methods : The current study was carried out on a sample of 341 students receiving school-based mental health services for conduct problems (27.8% girls, mean age of 9.9 years). ADHD and conduct problem symptomatology was assessed using a structured diagnostic instrument administered to parents and teachers. Results : Results show that 39.9% of students were medicated using CNSS and that, among those who do not present ADHD symptomatology, approximately a third used CNSS. Age (6-8 years), socio-economic status (medium or high), placement in a special class for children with conduct problems, and symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity and oppositional defiant disorder all contributed unique variance in the prediction of utilisation of CNSS in this sample. Conclusion : These results suggest that there may be several characteristics other than the presence of ADHD that can contribute to the medical decision to treat child problems with CNSS. These findings also underscore the importance of more rigorous assessment of ADHD in these children as well as longitudinal follow-up studies to determine the long-term effects of CNSS on their educational performance and eventual educational attainment.